Our ever-growing ability to see inside bodies and cells has transformed the work of biomedical scientists in recent times. And the hunt for a clearer picture is endless. A major focus today is moving beyond flat, two-dimensional images, towards full 3D visualisations. One new approach uses the glittering properties of gold (and silver) dust to give a glimpse inside. Metal nanoparticles are seeded throughout body tissues that have been rendered transparent, and then encouraged to gradually enlarge. As they increase in size, light shone on them scatters more strongly, so they give a clearer image of the structures they inhabit. This means not only the shape, but also the volume of anomalies such as the pink lesions shown here in the spinal cord of a mouse with multiple sclerosis, can be seen alongside any other disease-related structures. A gold mine of information for researchers.
Written by Anthony Lewis
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.