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23 February 2006 Second harmonic generation imaging of skeletal muscle tissue and myofibrils
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Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) imaging microscopy is used to examine the morphology and structural properties of intact muscle tissue. Using biochemical and optical analysis, we characterize the molecular structure underlying SHG from the complex muscle sarcomere. We find that SHG from isolated myofibrils is abolished by extraction of myosin, but is unaffected by removal or addition of actin filaments. We thus determined that the SHG emission arises from domains of the sarcomere containing thick filaments. By fitting the SHG polarization anisotropy to theoretical response curves, we find an orientation for the harmonophore that corresponds well to the pitch angle of the myosin rod α-helix with respect to the thick filament axis. Taken together, these data indicate that myosin rod domains are the key structures giving rise to SHG from striated muscle. Using SHG imaging microscopy, we have also examined the effect of optical clearing with glycerol to achieve greater penetration into specimens of skeletal muscle tissue. We find that treatment with 50% glycerol results in a 2.5 fold increase in achievable SHG imaging depth. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis shows quantitatively that the periodicity of the sarcomere structure is unaltered by the clearing process. Also, comparison of the SHG angular polarization dependence shows no change in the supramolecular organization of acto-myosin complexes. We suggest that the primary mechanism of optical clearing in muscle with glycerol treatment results from the reduction of cytoplasmic protein concentration and concomitant decrease in the secondary inner filter effect on the SHG signal. The pronounced lack of dependence of glycerol concentration on the imaging depth indicates that refractive index matching plays only a minor role in the optical clearing of muscle.
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Paul J. Campagnola, William H. Mohler, Sergey Plotnikov, and Andrew C. Millard "Second harmonic generation imaging of skeletal muscle tissue and myofibrils", Proc. SPIE 6089, Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences VI, 60891C (23 February 2006);

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