Scientists have developed a new tissue-clearing protocol that has rendered a whole, intact human brain transparent for the first time, according to a study published on February 13 in Cell.
When it comes to clearing complete organs at the cellular and molecular levels, adult human organs pose a challenge due to the stiffness of their aged tissues, the authors write in the paper. Using a special detergent that penetrates and clears centimeters-thick organs, the researchers were able to observe the structural details of the human brain, eye, thyroid, and kidney, as well as a transgenic pig pancreas.
S. Zhao et al., “Cellular and molecular probing of intact human organs,” Cell, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.030, 2020.
Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.