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Beating Heart Captured In 3D

Update Date: Jul 23, 2014 05:12 PM EDT

In a new study researchers have reported how they managed to capture detailed 3D images of cardiac dynamics in a zebrafish.

According to the study, researchers used the combination of high-speed Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) and clever image processing to reconstruct multi-view movie stacks of the beating heart.

In addition researchers have also developed a method of generating high-resolution static reconstructions of the zebrafish's heart. They used optogenetics to stop the beating heart by illuminating it with light.

Researchers believe the findings will help develop better understanding of congenital heart defects.

"These renderings allow us to further follow characteristic structures of the heart throughout the cardiac cycle," said Michaela Mickoleit, PhD student who performed the experiments in Huisken's lab, according to the press release.

Researchers obtained static high-resolution reconstructions by briefly stopping the heart with optogenetics. However, the process did not harm the fist as zebrafish embryos can survive a cardiac arrest of several hours.

The team at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics has developed a fantastic array of tools to image the heart in vivo, ranging from static to ultra-high-speed images. Their work offers potentially revolutionary insights into the cellular structure of the beating heart and are set to further improve our knowledge of congenital heart defects, the press release added.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Methods.

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