Sugar Solution 'SeeDB' Turns Embryos And Brains Transparent [STUDY]
A new sugar solution called SeeDB makes body tissue transparent in just a few days, allowing doctors and scientists to analyze tissue without cutting open the tissue.
Developed by scientists at the RIKEN Center for Development Biology in Japan, SeeDB can make embryos or organs transparent without damaging them. The water and fructose solution is the latest attempt by scientists to make biological samples transparent, in order to study them.
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Takeshi Imai, who led the SeeDB study, said that the fact that the sugar solution doesn't damage the tissue is a real breakthrough.
Previous transparency techniques, said Imai, "have limitations because they induce chemical and morphological damage to the sample and require time-consuming procedures."
SeeDB makes tissue transparent in just three days. SeeDB is designed to have the same refractive index--the way light bounces off an object -- as the lipids in a tissue, which renders the tissue almost totally transparent.
As part of the SeeDB study, the RIKEN researchers used the sugar solution to make mouse embryos and brains transparent. They were able to view the neuron circuits of the mouse brain under a fluorescent microscope, describing neuron wiring patterns and fibers at a level of detail previously not possible.
Before transparency techniques like SeeDB, scientists would examine tissue and organs by slicing into them. These extremely precise cuts of tissue would then be photographed for analyses. SeeDB isn't going to entirely do away with that method, but will be another option for scientists.
"SeeDB is inexpensive, quick, easy and safe to use, and requires no special equipment," the RIKEN team explained. "It will prove useful for a broad range of studies, including the study of neuronal circuits in human samples."
The SeeDB study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
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