Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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03 October 2015

Transparent Tissue

In order to image tissue deep beneath the surface, scientists use chemicals known as clearing agents to make the tissue ‘clear’ or transparent. However current clearing reagents damage the cell structure and disrupt the light scattering used for imaging. Using the sugar alcohol sorbitol, researchers have developed a new clearing method for bioimaging known as ScaleS. The sorbitol-based clearing reagent renders biological tissue transparent, without damaging cells, allowing for accurate, high-resolution bioimaging. This technique has already been used for brain anatomy studies of Alzheimer's mouse models and human samples, where the development of amyloid plaques – damaging protein clumps found in the brain – was monitored. Shown in this video is the 3D arrangement of blood vessels and plaques (green) in the outer layer of brain tissue – the cereberal cortex – of an Alzheimer's mouse model. These accurate deep tissue bioimaging studies should help to elucidate the role plaques play in Alzheimer's disease.

Written by Helen Thomas

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