The stunning video above depicts a reconstructed beating heart of a zebrafish embryo with the muscle layer shown in red and the endothelium highlighted in blue. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany created the video using a new three-dimensional imaging technique, which holds the promise of leading to a better "understanding of congenital heart defects as well in future experiments on cardiac function and development". As explained in a release:
[Researchers] developed a high-speed, selective plane illumination microscope that manages to do just that. By gently illuminating the fish heart with a thin light sheet and observing the emitted fluorescence with a fast and sensitive camera the researchers have achieved fast, non-invasive imaging of labelled heart tissue. The process involves taking multiple movies, each covering individual planes of the heart (movie stacks), then using the correlations between the individual planes to generate a synchronised, dynamic 3D image of the beating heart.
“These renderings allow us to further follow characteristic structures of the heart throughout the cardiac cycle,” says Michaela Mickoleit, PhD student who performed the experiments in [Jan Huisken's] lab.
Previously: An advancement in optogenetics: Switching off cells with light now as easy as switching them on and New York Times profiles Stanford’s Karl Deisseroth and his work in optogenetics