Last Updated on December 18, 2023
In part two of this series, we introduced all of the technical components needed to successfully perform Fiber Photometry and collect reliable, accurate data. In part three, we will briefly discuss innovations in Fiber Photometry hardware and the wireless TeleFipho system.
Part 3: Embracing Innovation: Wireless Fiber Photometry
Advancing research techniques is a cornerstone of all scientific pursuits, leading to groundbreaking discoveries, as new tools allow researchers to clear hurdles that were previously thought as insurmountable. In the field of neuroscience, a more complete understanding of the relationship between neural activity and behavior remains a key goal. The challenging part of this endeavor is creating an experimental environment that closely replicates the natural environment of research subjects. Despite Fiber Photometry representing a significant leap forward in understanding how neural activity and behavior are linked, most conventional systems come with the limitation of being tethered, leading to a few drawbacks. When animals are connected to a tethered system, it limits their freedom of movement which can impede completion of a behavioral task and make interpretation of results difficult. Additionally, tethered Fiber Photometry systems are subject to noise due to the movement of the cable itself. Another issue facing tethered systems is the need for chaining multiple optical fibers together using connectors, with each joint, the light intensity weakens which therefore requires a complex and expensive light source. Therefore, these features can limit experimental design and reduce the accuracy of recorded data. Advancements in wireless technology have allowed for the design of wireless Fiber Photometry systems which eliminate some of the issues inherent to using tethered systems.
Now, we will briefly introduce the TeleFipho Wireless Fiber Photometry System—an innovation to Fiber Photometry that allows real-time identification of neuronal activity in free-moving animals.
Introducing the TeleFipho System
In TeleFipho, all the essential fiber photometry components – from the light source to photodetectors and optical filters – are integrated into a lightweight compact headstage. This wireless headstage communicates seamlessly with a base station via radio waves. The base station is easily connected to a PC for quick and accessible data acquisition. This wireless setup permits research animals to move unrestrictedly, navigate tunnels, and doorways, and even engage in social interactions.
Benefits of Wireless Fiber Photometry
By mounting the headstage directly onto fiber optic cannulas and eliminating the need for long optical cables that can introduce noise and attenuate signal strength, the TeleFipho system simplifies the light path and can achieve unprecedented precision in detecting changes in fluorescence. This means that the data collected is not only more accurate but also provides a clearer window into the intricacies of how neural activity encodes behavior.
Working with data from a system like TeleFipho Wireless Fiber Photometry is made easy by removing the cable, which eliminates motion artifacts caused by rotary joints and long flexible waveguides. This means that you won’t have to process your data to correct for these artifacts.
TeleFipho software provides a real-time view of the data, allowing you to optimize light levels and detection sensitivity quickly. Timestamps and notes can be added manually to the data, or you can connect your behavioral equipment’s outputs to TeleFipho and automatically align behavioral events with the fluorescence data.
In essence, the wireless capabilities of TeleFipho not only represent a leap forward in technological innovation but also mark a significant advance in the way behavioral neuroscience experiments are conducted. By enabling subjects to move freely, researchers can now explore neural activity in a context that more closely mirrors real-life scenarios. This advancement is poised to unlock new insights and pave the way for a deeper understanding of the intricate interplay between neural function and behavior.
If you missed part one or part two of this series make sure to check them out. Additionally, if you would like a more in-depth review of the TeleFipho Wireless Photometry System take a look at our comprehensive Wireless Photometry eBook.