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F1000Res. 2017 Mar 1;6:200. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.10433.1. eCollection 2017.

Methodological advances in imaging intravital axonal transport.

Author information

1
Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK.
2
Division of Cell Biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK; Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

Abstract

Axonal transport is the active process whereby neurons transport cargoes such as organelles and proteins anterogradely from the cell body to the axon terminal and retrogradely in the opposite direction. Bi-directional transport in axons is absolutely essential for the functioning and survival of neurons and appears to be negatively impacted by both aging and diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The movement of individual cargoes along axons has been studied in vitro in live neurons and tissue explants for a number of years; however, it is currently unclear as to whether these systems faithfully and consistently replicate the in vivo situation. A number of intravital techniques originally developed for studying diverse biological events have recently been adapted to monitor axonal transport in real-time in a range of live organisms and are providing novel insight into this dynamic process. Here, we highlight these methodological advances in intravital imaging of axonal transport, outlining key strengths and limitations while discussing findings, possible improvements, and outstanding questions.

KEYWORDS:

axonal transport; intravital imaging; neurons

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.

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