Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fun fact: Neuron firing captured in zebrafish

Coronal section containing the chronically imaged pyramidal neuron “dow”
A report in Nature describes the first imaging of a vertebrate brain at the single cell level. The report describes how zebrafish larvae were genetically engineered such that they produce a protein that glows as a result of chemical changes from neuron firing. This modified fish and a the use of high-speed light-sheet microscopy allowed imaging of more than 80% of the approximately 100,000 neurons present in the larval brain every 1.3 seconds. This type of whole brain activity mapping could eventually be used to help explain brain function.