Whole-brain imaging of freely-moving zebrafish

Frontiers in Neuroscience(2023)

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One of the holy grails of neuroscience is to record the activity of every neuron in the brain while an animal moves freely and performs complex behavioral tasks. While important steps forward have been taken recently in large-scale neural recording in rodent models, single neuron resolution across the entire mammalian brain remains elusive. In contrast the larval zebrafish offers great promise in this regard. Zebrafish are a vertebrate model with substantial homology to the mammalian brain, but their transparency allows whole-brain recordings of genetically-encoded fluorescent indicators at single-neuron resolution using optical microscopy techniques. Furthermore zebrafish begin to show a complex repertoire of natural behavior from an early age, including hunting small, fast-moving prey using visual cues. Until recently work to address the neural bases of these behaviors mostly relied on assays where the fish was immobilized under the microscope objective, and stimuli such as prey were presented virtually. However significant progress has recently been made in developing brain imaging techniques for zebrafish which are not immobilized. Here we discuss recent advances, focusing particularly on techniques based on light-field microscopy. We also draw attention to several important outstanding issues which remain to be addressed to increase the ecological validity of the results obtained.
light-field microscopy,behavior,calcium imaging,image deconvolution,zebrafish
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