Neurons in an animal body form a highly complex and spatially organized 3D structure, which can be characterized by neuronal networks or circuits. Currently, the most common method of studying the 3D structure of neuron networks is by using a confocal fluorescence microscope, which requires fluorescence tagging with either transient membrane dyes or after fixation of the cells. Therefore, studies on neurons are often limited to samples that are chemically treated and/or dead.
WDT presents a solution for imaging live neuron networks with a high spatial and temporal resolution, because it is a 3D imaging method that is label-free and non-invasive. Using this method, a mouse or rat hippocampal neuron culture and a mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron culture have been imaged in order to see the extension of processes between the cells in 3D. Furthermore, the tomogram is compared with a confocal fluorescence image in order to investigate the 3D structure at synapses.