Zebrafish Structural Development in Mueller-matrix Scanning Microscopy


Zebrafish are powerful animal models for understanding biological processes and the molecular mechanisms involved in different human diseases. Advanced optical techniques based on fluorescence microscopy have become the main imaging method to characterize the development of these organisms at the microscopic level. However, the need for fluorescence probes and the consequent high light doses required to excite fluorophores can affect the biological process under observation including modification of metabolic function or phototoxicity. Here, without using any labels, we propose an implementation of a Mueller-matrix polarimeter into a commercial optical scanning microscope to characterize the polarimetric transformation of zebrafish preserved at different embryonic developmental stages. By combining the full polarimetric measurements with statistical analysis of the Lu and Chipman mathematical decomposition, we demonstrate that it is possible to quantify the structural changes of the biological organization of fixed zebrafish embryos and larvae at the cellular scale. This convenient implementation, with low light intensity requirement and cheap price, coupled with the quantitative nature of Mueller-matrix formalism, can pave the way for a better understanding of developmental biology, in which label-free techniques become a standard tool to study organisms.

Scientific Reports
Silvia Giordani
Silvia Giordani
Full Professor Chair of Nanomaterials

My research interests are in the design, synthesis, and characterization of hybrid smart nanomaterials for biomedical, energy and environmental applications