About this Research Topic
Aging of the nervous system is characterized by deterioration of gene expression, neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity and neural connections. Understanding these changes more precisely in nanoscale resolution on the molecular basis and simultaneously within the large spatial scale of neural circuits will yield more insights into nervous system aging. Electron microscopy provides nanoscale resolution for a large scale neural connection with limited molecular information. Super-resolution light microscopy yields robust molecular features at nanoscale level but is difficult to apply to extended three-dimensional (3-D) neural tissue, such as hippocampus or cerebral cortex. Recently, a technique called expansion microscopy (ExM) introduced a chemical process that enables tissue to be isotropically expanded approximately four-fold in three dimensions, which enables ordinary confocal microscopes to image multiple molecules with nanoscale resolution. In addition, combining serial sectioning of ExM-treated samples with either confocal or conventional super-resolution microscopy imaging techniques is capable of providing nanoscale precision of neural wiring in a large neural network.
ExM has become a very popular and powerful tool for examining synaptic protein architecture and mapping RNA with subsynaptic precision in cultures, biological tissue, and clinical specimens. ExM allows super-resolution imaging of molecular structures in the extended 3-D specimens using conventional light microscopy. Expansion microscopy with tissue clearing has recently used to achieve a single-cell-resolution whole brain atlas.
This Research Topic is intended to expand the application of ExM in aging neuroscience discovery. Ordinary confocal microscopes are widely accessible and many laboratories are finding it relatively easy to learn and incorporate ExM procedures. This increased use of ExM will accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis involved in nervous system aging. In addition, validating and applying ExM to different animal models for aging neuroscience study is highly encouraged. The work combining ExM with other techniques to benefit aging neuroscience research fits the scope of this Research Topic. Contributors are encouraged to submit research articles, reviews, mini-reviews, clinical studies, perspectives, short communications as well as theoretical papers, opinions, and methods.
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