We’ve been reporting on efforts of U.S. and Japanese scientists to turn biological tissue transparent (see here and here), and so offer a way of studying life with a much clearer view. Though visually stunning, previous efforts actually caused chemical and physical damage to the samples, and took a long time to work in practice. Now a team from Japan’s RIKEN research institute are reporting the development of a water-based substance, named SeeDB, that works in only three days, maintains the integrity of a sample’s volume, and does not flush out fluorescent dyes like green fluorescent protein (GFP) and lipophilic neuronal tracers.
Using the new technique, the team was able to image the whole mouse brain back to front, and also map out at individual fiber resolution the connectivity of sister mitral cells in the region of the mouse brain responsible for the sense of smell. They also note that SeeDB is cheap, easy to use, and doesn’t require expensive laboratory equipment.
Technical report in Nature Neuroscience: SeeDB: a simple and morphology-preserving optical clearing agent for neuronal circuit reconstruction