Advanced optical imaging techniques for neurodevelopment

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Dec;23(6):1090-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.06.008. Epub 2013 Jul 5.


Over the past decade, developmental neuroscience has been transformed by the widespread application of confocal and two-photon fluorescence microscopy. Even greater progress is imminent, as recent innovations in microscopy now enable imaging with increased depth, speed, and spatial resolution; reduced phototoxicity; and in some cases without external fluorescent probes. We discuss these new techniques and emphasize their dramatic impact on neurobiology, including the ability to image neurons at depths exceeding 1mm, to observe neurodevelopment noninvasively throughout embryogenesis, and to visualize neuronal processes or structures that were previously too small or too difficult to target with conventional microscopy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Optical Imaging / methods*