Sugar solution makes tissues see through for brain imaging at unprecedented resolution

RIKEN Center for Developmental biology researchers have developed a new sugar and water-based solution that turns tissues transparent in just three days, without disrupting the shape and chemical nature of the samples.
Combined with fluorescence microscopy, this technique enabled them to obtain detailed images of a mouse brain at unprecedented resolution.
Over the past few years, teams in the USA and Japan have reported a number of techniques to make biological samples transparent; they have enabled researchers to look deep down into biological structures like the brain.
“However, these techniques have limitations because they induce chemical and morphological damage to the sample and require time-consuming procedures,” explains Dr. Takeshi Imai, who led the study.
SeeDB, an aqueous fructose solution that Dr. Imai developed with colleagues Drs. Meng-Tsen Ke and Satoshi Fujimoto, overcomes these limitations.
Using SeeDB, the researchers were able to make mouse embryos and brains transparent in just three days, without damaging the fine structures of the samples, or the fluorescent dyes they had injected in them.