Hyperspectral analysis applied to micro-Brillouin maps of amyloid-beta plaques in Alzheimer's disease brains
A recent investigation on the architecture and chemical composition of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques in ex vivo histological sections of an Aβ-overexpressing transgenic mouse hippocampus has shed light on the infrared light signature of cell-activation related biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. A correlation was highlighted between the biomechanical properties detected by Brillouin microscopy and the molecular make-up of Aβ plaques provided by FTIR spectroscopic imaging and Raman microscopy (with correlative immunofluorescence imaging) in this animal model of the disease. In the Brillouin spectra of heterogeneous materials such as biomedical samples, peaks are likely the result of multiple contributions, more or less overlaid on a spatial and spectral scale. The ability to disentangle these contributions is very important as it may give access to discrete components that would otherwise be buried within the Brillouin peak envelope. Here, we applied an unsupervised non-negative matrix factorization method to analyse the spontaneous Brillouin microscopy maps of Aβ plaques in transgenic mouse hippocampal sections. The method has already been proven successful in decomposing chemical images and is applied here for the first time to acoustic maps acquired with a Fabry–Perot Brillouin microscope. We extracted and visualised a decrease in tissue rigidity from the core through to the periphery of the plaque, with spatially distinct components that we assigned to specific entities. This work demonstrates that it is possible to reveal the structure and mechanical properties of Aβ plaques, with details visualized by the projection of the mechanical contrast into a few relevant channels.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Clinical spectroscopy and SPEC 2018: International Society of Clinical Spectroscopy