Sugar Solution Creates See-Through Brain Tissue
Japanese scientists and cell biologists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have developed a new water and sugar solution that turns tissue completely transparent. The see-through tissues are being used on mice to obtain brain images, unlike any ever seen before.
For years, American and Japanese researchers in various cell biology fields have tried a wide variety of techniques to create transparent biological tissue samples. But, until now, every effort was hampered by the fact that the techniques all caused some sort of major chemical damage to the tissues themselves.
But a new study, led by Japanese scientist Dr. Takeshi Imai, has shown that a water and fructose solution overcomes this by making transparent brain tissue, without compromising the integrity or chemical composition of the tissue. And the entire process took a lot less time than expected.
In just three days, the cell biologists were able to create completely see-through mouse brains and embryos without damaging the samples. The scientists then used a fluorescent dye and a customized fluorescence microscope to watch live neuronal activity, with no major changes to the brain structure itself.
And, because the process is fast, inexpensive, easy to use and safe, it has a lot of possibilities for future use with human subjects as well. The immediate future will see studies using transparent human brain tissue to better understand neurological diseases and conditions.