Harnessing artificial intelligence to reduce phototoxicity in live imaging

Authors: Estibaliz Gómez-de-Mariscal, Mario Del Rosario, Joanna W. Pylvänäinen, Guillaume Jacquemet, Ricardo Henriques
Technologies: BioImage Model Zoo, CARE, DeepBacs, NanoJ-SRRF and ZeroCostDL4Mic
Perspective published in Journal of Cell Science, February 2024
Publisher: The Company of Biologists

Harnessing artificial intelligence to reduce phototoxicity in live imaging
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.261545

Fluorescence microscopy is essential for studying living cells, tissues and organisms. However, the fluorescent light that switches on fluorescent molecules also harms the samples, jeopardizing the validity of results – particularly in techniques such as super-resolution microscopy, which demands extended illumination. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled software capable of denoising, image restoration, temporal interpolation or cross-modal style transfer has great potential to rescue live imaging data and limit photodamage. Yet we believe the focus should be on maintaining light-induced damage at levels that preserve natural cell behaviour. In this Opinion piece, we argue that a shift in role for AIs is needed – AI should be used to extract rich insights from gentle imaging rather than recover compromised data from harsh illumination. Although AI can enhance imaging, our ultimate goal should be to uncover biological truths, not just retrieve data. It is essential to prioritize minimizing photodamage over merely pushing technical limits. Our approach is aimed towards gentle acquisition and observation of undisturbed living systems, aligning with the essence of live-cell fluorescence microscopy.