Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
Technique could be used to detect viruses and analyse human biopsy samples
Scientists have created see-through mice complete with transparent organs, in a new technique that could pave the way to a new generation of therapies for conditions ranging from autism to chronic pain.
Mice are frequently used in biomedical research because much of their basic biology is similar to humans, meaning they can be altered in ways that simulate human diseases.
The transparent mice are not alive however, and are currently being used for scientists researching fine details of anatomy.
Vivian Gradinaru, a senior author of the study at the California Institute of Technology, said the research could pave the way for a better understanding of brain-body interactions, more accurate clinical diagnoses and disease monitoring.
Before being treated with chemicals, the mice were euthanised and their skin removed. The team then pumped a series of chemicals through blood vessels, as well as other passages in the brain and spinal cord.
Some of the chemicals form a mesh to hold tissue in place, while others wash out fats that make tissue block light.
The results appear like a rodent-shaped block of gelatin with the organs held in place by connective tissue and a gel used in the procedure.
Researchers made their inner organs transparent, but not their bones. The process of making an entire mouse see-through takes up to two weeks.
Although scientists have been attempting to make organs transparent for decades, they have struggled to do this without damaging tissue.
The new work is the first to make an entire mouse transparent without extracting and then clearing organs outside the body, Ms Gradinaru explained.
Researchers had previously developed a method for making brains and embryos transparent and the team adapted this to use on the whole mouse body. The team say this new technique could be used to projects like mapping the details of the nervous system, the spread of cancer and to see where viruses hide in tissues.
Ms Gradinaru said: "Our methodology has the potential to accelerate any scientific endeavor that would benefit from whole-organism mapping, including the study of how peripheral nerves and organs can profoundly affect cognition and mental processing, and vice versa.
"Our easy-to-use tissue clearing protocols, which employ readily available and cost-effective reagents and equipment, will make the subcellular interrogation of large tissue samples an accessible undertaking within the broader research and clinical communities."
The study Single-Cell Phenotyping within Transparent Intact Tissue through Whole-Body Clearing has been published in the journal Cell.
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...