Imaging the Neuroimmune Dynamics Across Space and Time.

TitleImaging the Neuroimmune Dynamics Across Space and Time.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuteursCarrier, M, Robert, M-È, Ibáñez, FGonzález, Desjardins, M, Tremblay, M-È
JournalFront Neurosci
Date Published2020

The immune system is essential for maintaining homeostasis, as well as promoting growth and healing throughout the brain and body. Considering that immune cells respond rapidly to changes in their microenvironment, they are very difficult to study without affecting their structure and function. The advancement of non-invasive imaging methods greatly contributed to elucidating the physiological roles performed by immune cells in the brain across stages of the lifespan and contexts of health and disease. For instance, techniques like two-photon microscopy were pivotal for studying microglial functional dynamics in the healthy brain. Through these observations, their interactions with neurons, astrocytes, blood vessels and synapses were uncovered. High-resolution electron microscopy with immunostaining and 3D-reconstruction, as well as super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, provided complementary insights by revealing microglial interventions at synapses (phagocytosis, trogocytosis, synaptic stripping, etc.). In addition, serial block-face scanning electron microscopy has provided the first 3D reconstruction of a microglial cell at nanoscale resolution. This review will discuss the technical toolbox that currently allows to study microglia and other immune cells in the brain, as well as introduce emerging methods that were developed and could be used to increase the spatial and temporal resolution of neuroimmune imaging. A special attention will also be placed on positron emission tomography and the development of selective functional radiotracers for microglia and peripheral macrophages, considering their strong potential for research translation between animals and humans, notably when paired with other imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging.

Alternate JournalFront Neurosci
PubMed ID33071723
PubMed Central IDPMC7539119