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Published September 2022 | public
Journal Article

Multiscale photoacoustic tomography of neural activities with GCaMP calcium indicators


Significance: Optical imaging of responses in fluorescently labeled neurons has progressed significantly in recent years. However, there is still a need to monitor neural activities at divergent spatial scales and at depths beyond the optical diffusion limit. Aim: To meet these needs, we aim to develop multiscale photoacoustic tomography (PAT) to image neural activities across spatial scales with a genetically encoded calcium indicator GCaMP. Approach: First, using photoacoustic microscopy, we show that depth-resolved GCaMP signals can be monitored in vivo from a fly brain in response to odor stimulation without depth scanning and even with the cuticle intact. In vivo monitoring of GCaMP signals was also demonstrated in mouse brains. Next, using photoacoustic computed tomography, we imaged neural responses of a mouse brain slice at depths beyond the optical diffusion limit. Results: We provide the first unambiguous demonstration that multiscale PAT can be used to record neural activities in transgenic flies and mice with select neurons expressing GCaMP. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the combination of multiscale PAT and fluorescent neural activity indicators provides a methodology for imaging targeted neurons at various scales.

Additional Information

The authors thank Prof. James Ballard for a close reading of the manuscript and Terence Wong for experimental help. This work was sponsored in part by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants U01 NS099717 (BRAIN Initiative) to Lihong Wang and 5K99AR062530 (NIH K99/R00) to Bin Rao; an Imaging Sciences Pathway fellowship to Haoyang Rong; and a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant (#1453022) to Baranidharan Raman.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023