Simple and cost-effective hardware and software for functional brain mapping using intrinsic optical signal imaging

J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Sep 15;182(2):211-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2009.06.021. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


We describe a simple and low-cost system for intrinsic optical signal (IOS) imaging using stable LED light sources, basic microscopes, and commonly available CCD cameras. IOS imaging measures activity-dependent changes in the light reflectance of brain tissue, and can be performed with a minimum of specialized equipment. Our system uses LED ring lights that can be mounted on standard microscope objectives or video lenses to provide a homogeneous and stable light source, with less than 0.003% fluctuation across images averaged from 40 trials. We describe the equipment and surgical techniques necessary for both acute and chronic mouse preparations, and provide software that can create maps of sensory representations from images captured by inexpensive 8-bit cameras or by 12-bit cameras. The IOS imaging system can be adapted to commercial upright microscopes or custom macroscopes, eliminating the need for dedicated equipment or complex optical paths. This method can be combined with parallel high resolution imaging techniques such as two-photon microscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electronics
  • Equipment Design
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / economics*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Light
  • Mice
  • Software
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology