Optical light scatter imaging of cellular and sub-cellular morphology changes in stressed rat hippocampal slices

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21 Scopus citations


Optical imaging, such as transmission imaging, is used to study brain tissue injury. Transmission imaging detects cellular swelling via an increase in light transmitted by tissue slices due to a decrease in scattering particle concentration. Transmission imaging cannot distinguish sub-cellular particle size changes from cellular swelling or shrinkage. We present an optical imaging method, based on Mie scatter theory, to detect changes in sub-cellular particle size and concentration. The system uses a modified inverted microscope and a 16-bit cooled CCD camera to image tissue light scatter at two angles. Dual-angle scatter ratio imaging successfully discriminated latex microsphere suspensions of differing sizes (0.6, 0.8, 1 and 2 μm) and concentrations. We applied scatter imaging to hippocampal slices treated with 100 μM N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) to model excitotoxic injury or -40 mOsm hypotonic perfusion solution to cause edema injury. We detected light scatter decreases similar to transmission imaging in the CA1 region of the hippocampus for both treatments. Using our system, we could distinguish between NMDA and hypotonic treatments on the basis of statistically significant (P < 0.0003) differences in the scatter ratio measured in CA1. Scatter imaging should be useful in studying tissue injuries or activity resulting in brain tissue swelling as well as morphological changes in sub-cellular organelles such as mitochondrial swelling. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 2000


  • Brain injury
  • Hippocampal slice
  • Light scatter
  • Mitochondrial swelling
  • Optical imaging
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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