Advanced Circuit and Cellular Imaging Methods in Nonhuman Primates

J Neurosci. 2019 Oct 16;39(42):8267-8274. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1168-19.2019.


Novel genetically encoded tools and advanced microscopy methods have revolutionized neural circuit analyses in insects and rodents over the last two decades. Whereas numerous technical hurdles originally barred these methodologies from success in nonhuman primates (NHPs), current research has started to overcome those barriers. In some cases, methodological advances developed with NHPs have even surpassed their precursors. One such advance includes new ultra-large imaging windows on NHP cortex, which are larger than the entire rodent brain and allow analysis unprecedented ultra-large-scale circuits. NHP imaging chambers now remain patent for periods longer than a mouse's lifespan, allowing for long-term all-optical interrogation of identified circuits and neurons over timeframes that are relevant to human cognitive development. Here we present some recent imaging advances brought forth by research teams using macaques and marmosets. These include technical developments in optogenetics; voltage-, calcium- and glutamate-sensitive dye imaging; two-photon and wide-field optical imaging; viral delivery; and genetic expression of indicators and light-activated proteins that result in the visualization of tens of thousands of identified cortical neurons in NHPs. We describe a subset of the many recent advances in circuit and cellular imaging tools in NHPs focusing here primarily on the research presented during the corresponding mini-symposium at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

Keywords: Adeno-Associated virus; cortical mapping; optogenetics; prosthetic vision; two-photon microscopy; voltage-sensitive dye imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optogenetics
  • Primates