Starting from 17 century, the histology has played a key role in the description and classification of tissues and organs. However, it is currently unavailable a 3D cellular and anatomical maps of organs…
Even though microscopy techniques improved dramatically, only few years ago a whole-organ imaging technology was only a mirage. The main obstacle was the “opacity” of tissues. In fact to be analysed by classical microscopy, any substance is usually cut in thin slices, known as sections, to allow the light to pass through it. To overcome this limitation, in the last years new techniques of tissue decolorization have been described, which allow viewing whole organs by tissue-specific decolorizing agents. Today, a new “clearing” approach renders transparent almost all organs of mice as well as the entire body. This method allows travelling through the body looking for mapping and phenotyping of normal and pathological structures within intact organs and bodies.But some restrictions are still to be overcome. Indeed the “clearing” of the organs causes a reduction in the size of the sample. In this way the tissues are rearranged and partially distorted.
- Chenchen Pan et al. Shrinkage-mediated imaging of entire organs and organisms using uDISCO. Nature Method doi:10.1038/nMeth.3964
- Yang, B. et al. Single-cell phenotyping within transparent intact tissue through whole-body clearing. Cell 158, 945–958 (2014).
- Hama, H. et al. ScaleS: an optical clearing palette for biological imaging. Nat. Neurosci. 18, 1518–1529 (2015).