Scientists figured out how to make living tissue transparent

(ORDO NEWS) — American researchers have proposed a new method of sequential cleaning of tissues, which makes it possible to make biological tissues or even entire organisms transparent. The authors demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology by visualizing a coronavirus infection in the chest of a mouse.

Scientists from Scripps Research (USA) have proposed a new tissue cleaning method that makes biological samples transparent. The technology will simplify the visualization of the body and explore diseases of various organ systems.

The method, called HYBRiD, was described in the journal Nature Methods and combines elements of the two main previous approaches to cleaning fabrics, but is more practical than either of them. In addition, the scalable technology can easily be used in virtually any laboratory.

Traditional tissue cleaning involves the use of solvents to remove opaque molecules (such as fat) from the tissue while retaining most of the proteins and structures for further study.

For example, scientists use genetic engineering to attach fluorescent labels to specific proteins in organisms, or they use fluorescent antibodies to visualize specific molecules within an organism. Tissue cleaning allows you to see these luminous marks all over the body at once.

For the first time, scientists thought about cleaning tissues about 15 years ago. Basically, they used these technologies to study neural connections throughout the brain at once. Existing methods worked well for him, but were not suitable for other parts of the body that contain hardly soluble components.

The purification process has so far used organic or aqueous solvents. The former, as a rule, made it possible to clean the tissue faster and more efficiently, but they could weaken the fluorescent signals. The latter retained fluorescence better, but turned out to be practically useless for cleaning any tissue other than the brain.

Moreover, both types of method required long laborious procedures and often required the use of toxic chemicals. Therefore, an ordinary laboratory could not afford the large-scale and regular use of such methods.

HYBRiD technology includes the consistent use of organic and polymeric solvents. In addition, the scientists treated the samples with a water-based 3D solvent-cleaned organs imaging (DISCO) hydrogel to protect those molecules in the tissue that needed to be examined.

HYBRiD does not require pumping solvents through the sample: it can simply be immersed in a reagent bottle, which is extremely convenient and safe for everyday use.

The scientists demonstrated the effectiveness of the method for imaging cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs of mice. Chest cells of infected rodents were treated with fluorescently labeled antibodies. A new method of tissue cleaning has revealed macroscopic and microscopic signs of pathology in samples


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