Relevant for Research Area

B - Core technologies




Up to now, it is not yet known which processes and factors induce or influence dynamic changes of cerebral state in conditions such as epilepsy. The use of non-destructive modalities such as MR imaging provides a unique opportunity to investigate these progressive changes and allows the early identification of subtle disease biomarkers that expands the therapeutic window for intervention. Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) are a well-established culturing system with which to model a broad spectrum of neuronal pathologies. OHSCs preserve the hippocampal structure with all the advantages of in vitro paradigms, notably the lack of a blood-brain barrier and thus easy accessibility for pharmacological interventions. They also facilitate MR microscopy, with which we can dynamically study the progression of microstructural, functional, and metabolic changes in OHSCs. We have now demonstrated the ability to resolve microstructures of the spinal cord, mouse whole-brain sections, and the hippocampus at spatial resolutions of tens of micrometers. OHSCs were successfully cultivated in a home-built MR-compatible incubator for MR scanning, and we developed a Lenz lens that yielded an order of magnitude improvement in image SNR. Further applications include the monitoring of pathological microstructural changes, notably in response to external intervention such as electrical stimulation.

Research Status

The MAGRITE project has achieved a fully MR-compatible incubator for the imaging of living slice cultures. We have demonstrated the characterization of healthy and pathological tissue at microscopic resolutions using MRI, which allows longitudinal investigations of dynamic processes.

Gerlach J, Donkels C, Münzner G, Haas CA (2016) Persistent Gliosis Interferes with Neurogenesis in Or-ganotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures. Front Cell Neurosci, volume: 10.