Intrinsic optical signal (IOS) imaging has been widely used to map the patterns of brain activity in vivo in a label-free manner. Traditional IOS refers to changes in light transmission, absorption, reflectance, and scattering of the brain tissue. Here, we use polarized light for IOS imaging to monitor structural changes of cellular and subcellular architectures due to their neuronal activity in isolated brain slices. To reveal fast spatiotemporal changes of subcellular structures associated with neuronal activity, we developed the instantaneous polarized light microscope (PolScope), which allows us to observe birefringence changes in neuronal cells and tissues while stimulating neuronal activity. The instantaneous PolScope records changes in transmission, birefringence, and slow axis orientation in tissue at a high spatial and temporal resolution using a single camera exposure. These capabilities enabled us to correlate polarization-sensitive IOS with traditional IOS on the same preparations. We detected reproducible spatiotemporal changes in both IOSs at the stratum radiatum in mouse hippocampal slices evoked by electrical stimulation at Schaffer collaterals. Upon stimulation, changes in traditional IOS signals were broadly uniform across the area, whereas birefringence imaging revealed local variations not seen in traditional IOS. Locations with high resting birefringence produced larger stimulation-evoked birefringence changes than those produced at low resting birefringence. Local application of glutamate to the synaptic region in CA1 induced an increase in both transmittance and birefringence signals. Blocking synaptic transmission with inhibitors CNQX (for AMPA-type glutamate receptor) and D-APV (for NMDA-type glutamate receptor) reduced the peak amplitude of the optical signals. Changes in both IOSs were enhanced by an inhibitor of the membranous glutamate transporter, DL-TBOA. Our results indicate that the detection of activity-induced structural changes of the subcellular architecture in dendrites is possible in a label-free manner.