Scientists often study life processes by peering into biological organisms to see their structure and function. But brains and other tissues are almost all opaque, making it difficult to see deep inside. Now, due to a reagent that can literally make tissue transparent and minimizes light scatter, along with a new super-long-working-distance microscope objective, scientists are producing vivid 3D images of structures deep inside mouse brains and other animal organs. The reagent was developed by a research team at RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan; Olympus is now offering it, together with its specially designed 25x, NA1.0, 4mm-working-distancecompanion objective.
The reagent and objective are designed to boost the capability of multiphoton microscopy and allow scientists to look deeper into tissue than they ever could before. In the mouse brain, for instance, the RIKEN team has imaged neurons and blood vessels down beyond the white matter, 4mm beneath the surface. In additiong, the system avoids the need to slice dead biological tissue into very thin sections, which can damage specimens and make it challenging to visualize exactly how slices fit together and, critically, how neural filaments connect throughout the brain.