The Nature Video reveals how Karl Deisseroth and his team created 3D visualizations of mouse brains
To understand structure and function of brains or other complex biological systems, the method of choice is microscopy. In particular, confocal microscopy is employed to reveal three-dimensional connectivity and functional interactions. To come to a real insight into brain’s way of working, one must look deep into the tissue – which usually is non-transparent. A couple of clearing methods have been developed in the past, but they usually come along with distortions of the structures, incompatibilities with fluorescence stainings or are just prohibitively toxic to the lab technician.
Karl Deisseroth’s group, known for pioneering optogenetics, developed a new method to clear tissues that combines a set of promising features. The method, called CLARITY keeps the three-dimensional arrangement of biological structures from long neuronal connections down to the level of sub-synaptic patterns. The product of the treatment is transparent and permeable for macromolecules – enabling intact-tissue in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry with multiple rounds of staining and de-staining in non-sectioned tissue, and antibody labeling throughout the intact adult mouse brain. It also enables fine structural analysis of clinical samples, including non-sectioned human tissue from a neuropsychiatric-disease setting, establishing a path for the transmutation of human tissue into a stable, intact and accessible form suitable for probing structural and molecular underpinnings of physiological function and disease.
More videos with Karl Deisseroth
CLARITY process: interview with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University
YouTube video by stanfordmedicine