Volume electron microscopy reveals human retinal mitochondria that align with reflective bands in optical coherence tomography [Invited]

Biomed Opt Express. 2023 Sep 27;14(10):5512-5527. doi: 10.1364/BOE.501228. eCollection 2023 Oct 1.


Mitochondria are candidate reflectivity signal sources in optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal imaging. Here, we use deep-learning-assisted volume electron microscopy of human retina and in vivo imaging to map mitochondria networks in the outer plexiform layer (OPL), where photoreceptors synapse with second-order interneurons. We observed alternating layers of high and low mitochondrial abundance in the anatomical OPL and adjacent inner nuclear layer (INL). Subcellular resolution OCT imaging of human eyes revealed multiple reflective bands that matched the corresponding INL and combined OPL sublayers. Data linking specific mitochondria to defined bands in OCT may help improve clinical diagnosis and the evaluation of mitochondria-targeting therapies.