New optical nanosensor improves brain mapping accuracy, opens way for more applications

A new optical nanosensor enabling more accurate measurement and spatiotemporal mapping of the brain also shows the way forward for design of future multimodal sensors and a broader range of applications, say researchers in an article published in the current issue of Neurophotonics (“Imaging extracellular potassium dynamics in brain tissue using a potassium-sensitive nanosensor”).

Neuronal activity results in the release of ionized potassium into extracellular space. Under active physiological and pathological conditions, elevated levels of potassium need to be quickly regulated to enable subsequent activity. This involves diffusion of potassium across extracellular space as well as re-uptake by neurons and astrocytes.

Measuring levels of potassium released during neural activity has involved potassium-sensitive microelectrodes, and to date has provided only single-point measurement and undefined spatial resolution in the extracellular space.

With a fluorescence-imaging-based ionized-potassium-sensitive nanosensor design, a research team from the University of Lausanne was able to overcome challenges such as sensitivity to small movements or drift and diffusion of dyes within the studied region, improving accuracy and enabling access to previously inaccessible areas of the brain.

 

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2017-03-03T08:54:14+00:00

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