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J Neurosci Methods. 2012 Apr 15;205(2):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.10.029. Epub 2011 Nov 6.

Repeatable target localization for long-term in vivo imaging of mice with 2-photon microscopy.

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Department of Cellular Neurology, Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Repetitive in vivo imaging in mice has become an indispensable tool for studying dynamic changes in structure and function of the brain. We describe a head fixation system, which allows rapid re-localization of previously imaged regions of interest (ROIs) within the brain. Such ROIs can be automatically relocated and imaged over weeks to months with negligible rotational change and only minor translational errors. Previously stored imaging positions can be fully automated re-localized within a few seconds. This automated rapid and accurate relocation simplifies image acquisition and post-processing in longitudinal imaging experiments. Moreover, as the laser is only used for data acquisition and not for finding previously imaged ROIs, the risk of laser induced tissue damage and photobleaching is greatly reduced. Thus, here described head fixation device appears well suited for in vivo repetitive long-term imaging in rodent brain.

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