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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Dec;98(6):3770-9. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

New angles on neuronal dendrites in vivo.

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Department of Neurophysiology, Brain Research Institute, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057, Zurich, Switzerland.


Imaging technologies are well suited to study neuronal dendrites, which are key elements for synaptic integration in the CNS. Dendrites are, however, frequently oriented perpendicular to tissue surfaces, impeding in vivo imaging approaches. Here we introduce novel laser-scanning modes for two-photon microscopy that enable in vivo imaging of spatiotemporal activity patterns in dendrites. First, we developed a method to image planes arbitrarily oriented in 3D, which proved particularly beneficial for calcium imaging of parallel fibers and Purkinje cell dendrites in rat cerebellar cortex. Second, we applied free linescans -- either through multiple dendrites or along a single vertically oriented dendrite -- to reveal fast dendritic calcium dynamics in neocortical pyramidal neurons. Finally, we invented a ribbon-type 3D scanning method for imaging user-defined convoluted planes enabling simultaneous measurements of calcium signals along multiple apical dendrites. These novel scanning modes will facilitate optical probing of dendritic function in vivo.

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