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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Synaptic Density Imaging", Or Watching Neurons Talk In A Live Brain

Watching Neurons Talk in a Living Brain

Jessica Boddy | July 21, 2016

Ever wonder what it looks like when brain cells chat up a storm? Researchers have found a way to watch the conversation in action without ever cracking open a skull. This glimpse into the brain’s communication system could open new doors to diagnosing and treating disorders from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease.
Being able to see where—and how—living brain cells are working is “the holy grail in neuroscience,” says Howard Federoff, a neurologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved with the work. “This is a possible new tool that could bring us closer to that.”

"A multidisciplinary team of USC scientists is collaborating to image synapses in living zebrafish to gain a better understanding of the brain." Source:
"Light microscope image of hippocampal presynaptic CA3 axons (blue), postsynaptic CA1 dendrites (red), and synaptic connections labeled using the mGRASP technique (green). " Source;

<more at; related articles and links: (This breakthrough could help scientists see exactly how depression, Alzheimer's, and autism transform our brains. July 20, 2016) and (Imaging synaptic density in the living human brain. Sjoerd J. Finnema, Nabeel B. Nabulsi, Tore Eid, Kamil Detyniecki, Shu-fei Lin, Ming-Kai Chen, Roni Dhaher, David Matuskey, Evan Baum, Daniel Holden, Dennis D. Spencer, Joël Mercier, Jonas Hannestad, Yiyun Huang and Richard E. Carson. Science Translational Medicine, Vol 8, Issue 348 (July 20, 2016). [Seeing Synapses: When synapses “fire,” information is transmitted from one neuron to another. Although many neurological and psychiatric diseases are characterized by misfiring synapses, there is currently no way to visualize healthy or aberrant neuronal connections in the living brain—tissues would need to be sampled, which is an invasive and often unwanted procedure. Finnema and colleagues developed a noninvasive approach to “see” human synapses by using an imaging agent that targets the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A). PET imaging allowed the authors to visualize synaptic density in both healthy and epileptic human brains in living patients. In the brains with epilepsy, synaptic density was asymmetric—consistent with damage to certain brain regions. This method opens doors to routine monitoring of the brain in patients with various neurological diseases, where synaptic loss or dynamic changes in density could provide clues to prognosis.])>

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