Quantum Dots for Imaging Neural Cells In Vitro and In Vivo
: Quantum dots (QDs) have been used for optical imaging of neural cells in vitro and in vivo. This chapter lists the basic materials, instrumentation and step-by-step procedures to image live microglia cells and to show the functional and biochemical changes in microglia exposed to QDs. Details are also provided for the real-time imaging of cerebral ischemic lesions in animals and for the assessment of lesion reduction after therapeutic interventions. Microglia are brain cells which detect, internalize, and eliminate particulate matter, thereby maintaining homeostasis in the central nervous system. Although the protocols for imaging microglia shown here are developed for QDs without specific ligands or antibodies, the principles are the same for imaging other QDs.