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Nikon multiphoton microscope assists study of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

02 Aug 2023

Company's AX R MP platform is compatible with AI image analysis routines.

Nikon Instruments has announced a new multiphoton confocal microscope platform intended to contribute to the study of brain diseases and to drug development.

The AX R MP, available from September 2023, brings multiphoton capability to the company's AX R confocal system, with a non-linear excitation regime restricting fluorescence to the laser focus area. Multiphoton microscopy is preferred for deep imaging applications in thick tissue specimens.

The instrument also makes use of the Nikon Spatial Array Confocal (NSPARC) detector developed for the AX series of microscopes, which collects two-dimensional information for each pixel by utilizing an array detector. This improves the signal-to-noise ratio and allows imaging at lower excitation power.

The device's combination of array-based NSPARC detection and multiphoton confocal microscopy will be used for super-resolution observation of deep areas within living bodies, according to Nikon, which is targeting the microscope at drug research and the study of diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

In addition, the platform can be integrated with Nikon's NIS-Elements imaging software, which employs AI routines to automatically remove blur from fluorescence microscopy images, and to recognize patterns present in two different imaging channels so as to predict what the second channel would look like when only the first channel is acquired.

"AI automatically performs complex image processing after imaging, such as brightness adjustment, noise removal, and target cell extraction," commented Nikon. "These AI functions can reduce user workloads, improve data collection and enhance image analysis."

Understanding the central nervous system

The microscope's architecture incorporates two selectable scanners, one resonant and vibrating at a fixed high-frequency rate, and the other a galvano scanner driven using a variable waveform. The galvano scanner can obtain images of 8192 x 8192 pixels, according to Nikon data, while the resonant scanner supports pixel densities of up to 2048 x 2048.

"A combination of low-noise array detection and high-speed resonant scanner can allow researchers to get a clear picture of the rapid dynamics within the living brain," commented the developers. "Such images will help to link neuronal disease mechanisms with neuronal morphology and dynamics, contributing to the understanding of the central nervous system."

Alongside the standard AX R MP device, Nikon is also making available a modified platform with near-infrared imaging incorporated in addition to conventional visible light excitation. The NIR Imaging Option allows the acquisition of more channels in multicolor fluorescence imaging and the use of near-infrared probes alongside existing visible light excitation.

Since near-IR light has a high penetration depth into tissue and is less affected by light absorption and scattering, this option should allow high-definition observation of structures located more deeply within living specimens. Near-IR can also produce less autofluorescence from samples, improving image clarity.

"With the AX, AX R confocal microscope and AX R MP with NSPARC, Nikon continues to make products available to support research on life phenomena and expand its range of products, providing the flexibility to meet customers' research needs," said the company.

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