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Cellular and Molecular Probing of Intact Transparent Human Organs

By Shan Zhao, Mihail Ivilinov Todorov, Ruiyao Cai, Hanno Steinke, Elisabeth Kemter, Eckhard Wolf, Jan Lipfert, Ingo Bechmann, Ali Ertürk

Posted 21 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/643908

Optical tissue transparency permits cellular and molecular investigation of complex tissues in 3D, a fundamental need in biomedical sciences. Adult human organs are particularly challenging for this approach, owing to the accumulation of dense and sturdy molecules in decades-aged human tissues. Here, we introduce SHANEL method utilizing a new tissue permeabilization approach to clear and label stiff human organs. We used SHANEL to generate the first intact transparent adult human brain and kidney, and perform 3D histology using antibodies and dyes in centimeters depth. Thereby, we revealed structural details of the sclera, iris and suspensory ligament in the human eye, and the vessels and glomeruli in the human kidney. We also applied SHANEL on transgenic pig organs to map complex structures of EGFP expressing beta cells in >10 cm size pancreas. Overall, SHANEL is a robust and unbiased technology to chart the cellular and molecular architecture of intact large mammalian organs.

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