An active rotating interface to image neuronal dynamics in free-moving animals.

The development of methods allowing the optical recording of large neuronal assemblies in freely moving mice is crucial to deepen the understanding of the neuronal mechanisms that govern behavior. Today, there are miniaturized microscopes mounted on the heads of animals, or virtual reality systems built around head-fixed mice under state-of-the-art imaging systems. To overcome the limitations of these approaches, it is possible to use a fiber optic bundle connecting the moving animal to a conventional imaging system, but its torsion generated by the animal’s rotations inevitably constrains the behavior. To overcome this major limitation of fibroscopic imaging, we have developed an active optical rotary joint that allows the use of efficient imaging systems while maintaining the freedom of movement of the animal.

In a recent paper published in the journal Neurophotonics, we present its operating principle, demonstrate its efficacy in a locomotion task, and propose several modes of operation for a wide range of experimental designs.

Imaging the brain in action: a motorized optical rotary joint for wide field fibroscopy in freely moving animals. Timothé Jost-Mousseau, Max Chalabi, Daniel E. Shulz, Isabelle Férézou.

Article published in NeurophotonicsAccess to the manuscript