Quantifying myelin content in brain tissue using color spatial light interference microscopy (cSLIM)

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gabriel PopescuMichael Fanous

Abstract

Deficient myelination of the brain is associated with neurodevelopmental delays, particularly in high-risk infants, such as those born small in relation to their gestational age (SGA). New methods are needed to further study this condition. Here, we employ Color Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (cSLIM), which uses a brightfield objective and RGB camera to generate pathlength-maps with nanoscale sensitivity in conjunction with a regular brightfield image. Using tissue sections stained with Luxol Fast Blue, the myelin structures were segmented from a brightfield image. Using a binary mask, those portions were quantitatively analyzed in the corresponding phase maps. We first used the CLARITY method to remove tissue lipids and validate the sensitivity of cSLIM to lipid content. We then applied cSLIM to brain histology slices. These specimens are from a previous MRI study, which demonstrated that appropriate for gestational age (AGA) piglets have increased internal capsule myelination (ICM) compared to small for gestational age (SGA) piglets and that a hydrolyzed fat diet improved ICM in both. The identity of samples was blinded until after statistical analyses.

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