From Event: SPIE Organic Photonics + Electronics, 2015
Natural or “self” alignment of molecular complexes in living tissue represents many similarities with liquid crystals (LC), which are anisotropic liquids. The orientational characteristics of those complexes may be related to many important functional parameters and their study may reveal important pathologies. The know-how, accumulated thanks to the study of LC materials, may thus be used to this end. One of the traditionally used methods, to characterize those materials, is the polarized light imaging (PLI) that allows for label-free analysis of anisotropic structures in the brain tissue and can be used, for example, for the analysis of myelinated fiber bundles.
In the current work, we first attempted to apply the PLI on the mouse histological brain sections to create a map of anisotropic structures using cross-polarizer transmission light. Then we implemented the PLI for comparative study of histological sections of human postmortem brain samples under normal and pathological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Imaging the coronal, sagittal and horizontal sections of mouse brain allowed us to create a false color-coded fiber orientation map under polarized light. In human brain datasets for both control and PD groups we measured the pixel intensities in myelin-rich subregions of internal capsule and normalized these to non-myelinated background signal from putamen and caudate nucleus. Quantification of intensities revealed a statistically significant reduction of fiber intensity of PD compared to control subjects (2.801 ± 0.303 and 3.724 ± 0.07 respectively; *p < 0.05).
Our study confirms the validity of PLI method for visualizing myelinated axonal fibers. This relatively simple technique can become a promising tool for study of neurodegenerative diseases where labeling-free imaging is an important benefit.
Karen Bakhshetyan, Gurgen G. Melkonyan, Tigran V. Galstian, and Armen Saghatelyan, "Revealing pathologies in the liquid crystalline structures of the brain by polarimetric studies (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9565, Liquid Crystals XIX, 956511 (Presented at SPIE Organic Photonics + Electronics: August 10, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2187503.4519371793001.
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