Advances in visualization of copper in mammalian systems using X-ray fluorescence microscopy

Scot C. Leary, Martina Ralle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) has become an important imaging technique to investigate elemental concentrations and distributions in biological specimens. Advances in technology now permit imaging at resolutions rivaling that of electron microscopy, and researchers can now visualize elemental concentrations in subcellular organelles when using appropriate correlative methods. XFM is an especially valuable tool to determine the distribution of endogenous trace metals that are involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we discuss the latest research on the unusual copper (Cu) storage vesicles that were originally identified in mouse brains and the involvement of Cu in Alzheimer's disease. Finally, we provide an outlook of how future improvements to XFM will drive current trace element research forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Copper dyshomeostasis in Alzheimer's disease
  • Copper storage vesicles
  • X-ray fluorescence microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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