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Home Industry News New imaging method offers fresh insights into the brain

New imaging method offers fresh insights into the brain

20th March 2018

Scientists and medical professionals could soon be able to analyse brain tissue in unprecedented detail, thanks to a new imaging technique developed through an international collaboration between Imperial College London and the University of Hong Kong.

Traditionally, viewing brain samples has involved cutting small pieces of tissue into thin slices, which are stained to reveal points of interest such as proteins or disease markers.

In recent years, tissue clearing techniques have improved thanks to progress in molecular tagging and the availability of laser microscopes, although there have been relatively few studies applying these methods to human brain tissue.

The researchers from London and Hong Kong sought to overcome the unique challenges associated with the human brain by developing a new tissue clearing solution, which allowed them to use a range of molecular labelling processes for 3D visualisation of fresh and archival tissue.

This enabled the team to stain various types of cells and blood vessels, as well as pathological markers such as tangles of tau protein, which are found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Professor Steve Gentleman, scientific director of the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank at Imperial College London, said: "By using tools such as these in the lab we will be able to visualise how cells interact with each other in 3D and learn more about the pathways and connections that are damaged in the common neurodegenerative brain conditions which have such an enormous impact on people's lives."

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