In vivo optical microscopic imaging techniques have recently emerged as important tools for the study of neurobiological development and pathophysiology. In particular, two-photon microscopy has proved to be a robust and highly flexible method for in vivo imaging in highly scattering tissue. However, two-photon imaging typically requires extrinsic dyes or contrast agents, and imaging depths are limited to a few hundred microns. Here we demonstrate Optical Coherence Microscopy (OCM) for in vivo imaging of neuronal cell bodies and cortical myelination up to depths of ∼1.3 mm in the rat neocortex. Imaging does not require the administration of exogenous dyes or contrast agents, and is achieved through intrinsic scattering contrast and image processing alone. Furthermore, using OCM we demonstrate in vivo, quantitative measurements of optical properties (index of refraction and attenuation coefficient) in the cortex, and correlate these properties with laminar cellular architecture determined from the images. Lastly, we show that OCM enables direct visualization of cellular changes during cell depolarization and may therefore provide novel optical markers of cell viability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics