A first for imaging science, Rochester researchers show how to track the interactions of microscopic immune cells in a living eye without using dyes or causing damage. The new technique, which combines infrared videography and artificial intelligence, could be a “game changer” for some clinical diagnoses and fields such as pharmaceuticals. They developed a new microscopy technique based on groundbreaking adaptive optics developed at the University more than 20 years ago.
The new technique, combined with time-lapse videography and artificial intelligence software, allows researchers to image and track the interactions of translucent immune cells within live retinal tissue in animals for the first time without labeling. Until now, immune cells had to be labeled with fluorescent agents and frequently reinjected to be imaged, raising concerns about how this might affect the cells’ behavior. Another common but limited approach is removing and studying cells in a dish under a microscope.
The first study avoided both complications by imaging immune cells in the living eye without using dyes. Because the eye is an extension of the brain, this technology provides some of the first glimpses into immune cell function deep within the central nervous system. According to them, this is a critical step for basic science and clinical research.
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