New microscopes, known as mesoSPIM and able to recover the smallest details of brain tissue to visualize individual neurons, were presented in a study published in Nature Methods.
These new microscopes can provide new information about the organization of the brain and its structure, as well as that of the spinal cord, useful information for restoring movement after paralysis or for analyzing the neural networks involved in cognition in unprecedented ways.
MesoSPIM can create high-resolution images and are faster than existing microscopes. In addition, new open-source initiatives, bringing together the best European neuroscience laboratories sharing their skills, are spreading these new microscopes worldwide.
MesoSPIM are light-plate microscopes that optically “cut” the specimen with a beam of light. Through this optical section, it is possible to capture image fragments without damaging the sample and therefore without making real cuts on it.
These “slices” of images are then combined to reconstruct the three-dimensional image, which can be a whole organ or a small sample. In addition, MesoSPIM scans can perform scans much faster than standard light-plate microscopes and can also perform direct visualizations.