Specimen preparation, imaging, and analysis protocols for knife-edge scanning microscopy.
Additional Document Info
Major advances in high-throughput, high-resolution, 3D microscopy techniques have enabled the acquisition of large volumes of neuroanatomical data at submicrometer resolution. One of the first such instruments producing whole-brain-scale data is the Knife-Edge Scanning Microscope (KESM), developed and hosted in the authors' lab. KESM has been used to section and image whole mouse brains at submicrometer resolution, revealing the intricate details of the neuronal networks (Golgi), vascular networks (India ink), and cell body distribution (Nissl). The use of KESM is not restricted to the mouse nor the brain. We have successfully imaged the octopus brain, mouse lung, and rat brain. We are currently working on whole zebra fish embryos. Data like these can greatly contribute to connectomics research; to microcirculation and hemodynamic research; and to stereology research by providing an exact ground-truth. In this article, we will describe the pipeline, including specimen preparation (fixing, staining, and embedding), KESM configuration and setup, sectioning and imaging with the KESM, image processing, data preparation, and data visualization and analysis. The emphasis will be on specimen preparation and visualization/analysis of obtained KESM data. We expect the detailed protocol presented in this article to help broaden the access to KESM and increase its utilization.