Until recently, available microscopes were too slow to capture a beating heart in 3D. Now, a team from the Max Planck Institute has developed a high-speed, selective plane illumination microscope that manages to do just that. By gently illuminating the fish heart with a thin light sheet and observing the emitted fluorescence with a fast and sensitive camera the researchers have achieved fast, non-invasive imaging of labelled heart tissue. The process involves taking multiple movies, each covering individual planes of the heart (movie stacks), then using the correlations between the individual planes to generate a synchronised, dynamic 3D image of the beating heart.
The team also obtained static high-resolution reconstructions by briefly stopping the heart with optogenetics. These renderings allow researchers to further follow characteristic structures of the heart throughout the cardiac cycle. For instance, they now can clearly observe cardiac contractions or the distance between endo- and myocardium throughout the heartbeat. Non-periodic phenomena such as irregularly beating hearts and the flow of blood cells are resolved by high-speed volume scanning using a liquid lens.
By manipulating the exposure time and magnification of the images, better resolution could be achieved and fine details such as sarcomeres and filamentous actin could also be resolved. Finally, they then also went on to resolve non-periodic phenomena by high-speed volume scanning with a liquid lens. For the first time, it has become possible to also image diseased hearts that exhibit arrhythmia, exciting news for cardiologists.
The team has developed a fantastic array of tools to image the heart in vivo, ranging from static to ultra-high-speed images. Their work offers potentially revolutionary insights into the cellular structure of the beating heart and are set to further improve knowledge of congenital heart defects.
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.
Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.