Usually hidden in the glare of fluorescence used to light up the cell for imaging, the researchers used a special imaging technique developed only last year called epitope-preserving magnified analysis of the proteome (eMAP).
This new imaging process uses a gel to help lock delicate cellular structures and proteins into place, allowing researchers to better study them as tissues are manipulated.
Armed with the magnified images of 2,234 dendritic protrusions, the researchers could see – for the first time – that adult mice brains had concentrations of filopedia never seen before in adult mice.
Next, the researchers asked whether adult silent synapses could be activated.
The researchers are now investigating whether silent synapses exist in adult human brain tissue.