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Colorful Neurons

Depth-coloring hippocampal slices

Neurons are not colourful. they appear grey/white-ish under a regular microscope.

However, if we selectively label a subset of these neurons with fluorescent proteins they will glow under the light (or laser) of a microscope.

How to acquire these images

The microscope takes thin optical slices (i.e. pictures) of these neurons along the Z axis (depth) allowing the observer to appreciate the 3D structure of the neurons.

Here I have projected the images (optical slice) along the Z-axis and assigned a different colour to each optical slice using the beloved Fiji (ImageJ).

The result is a powerful image that reveals the complexity of the network (85-90% of the neurons in this picture are not visible!) and uses colour in a clever way: neurons and neuronal processes lying on the same plane are labeled with the same colour, while neurons and processes lying on different planes have different colours.


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