Imaging of retina cellular and subcellular structures using ptychographic hard X-ray tomography.

Journal of Cell Science
Valerie PanneelsGebhard Schertler


Ptychographic hard X-ray computed tomography (PXCT) is a recent method allowing imaging with quantitative electron-density contrast. Here, we imaged, at cryogenic temperature and without sectioning, cellular and subcellular structures of a chemically fixed and stained wild-type mouse retina, including axons and synapses, with complete isotropic 3D information over tens of microns. Comparison with tomograms of degenerative retina from a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa illustrates the potential of this method for analyzing disease processes like neurodegeneration at sub-200 nm resolution. As a non-destructive imaging method, PXCT is very suitable for correlative imaging. Within the outer plexiform layer containing the photoreceptor synapses, we identified somatic synapses. We used a small region inside the X-ray-imaged sample for further high-resolution focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope tomography. The subcellular structures of synapses obtained with the X-ray technique matched the electron microscopy data, demonstrating that PXCT is a powerful scanning method for tissue volumes of more than 60 cells and sensitive enough for identification of regions as small as 200 nm, which remain available for further structura...Continue Reading


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