X-Ray Holographic Nano-Tomography (XNH)

Researchers have demonstrated that X-Ray Holographic Nano-Tomography (XNH) could aid in mapping neural circuits and, eventually, the brain. The researchers describe how XNH can image large volumes of mouse brain and fruit fly nervous tissue at high resolution.

Using artificial intelligence-driven image analysis, they reconstructed dense neural circuits in 3-D fruit flies. They cataloged neurons in detail and traced individual neurons from muscles to the central nervous system.

It will open new avenues for understanding the brain’s organization and the circuitry underpinning its function. This knowledge can give us fundamental insights into neurological disorders, diseases affecting brain structure, etc. X-ray microscopy has several advantages over current electron microscopy-based approaches (EM) for biological questions such as neural circuit discovery. Because we can now access much larger volumes in much shorter times, X-Ray Holographic Nano-Tomography can add much value to neuroscience. It is the start of a new approach to mapping neural circuits.

The method is similar to a CT scan in that it uses a rotating X-ray to create serial cross-sectional images of the body. XNH, on the other hand, uses high-energy x-rays to expose a rotating tissue sample at the ESRF’s synchrotron, which accelerates electrons to near-light speed around an 844-meter ring.

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