Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Improved tissue clearing means fluorescent stains stay brighter longer

26 February 2019


The result of techniques improved over several years by scientists around the world, this mouse kidney is almost completely transparent, save for its intricate network of blood vessels. DISCO is a method for 'clearing' tissues – flushing opaque molecules away, but leaving behind clearly visible structures like arteries or nerves. Since its development several years ago, different DISCOs have been announced – this kidney is pictured under a high-powered microscope using the brand new FDISCO. Tweaking the temperature and pH of the original method, FDISCO preserves the kidney’s fluorescent stain for longer, so samples can be investigated for months (rather than days) using gentle light sheet microscopy. Long enough, perhaps, to count this kidney’s 15,740 glomeruli – tiny knots of blood vessels (yellow) which help the kidney to filter the blood – or examine its structures for signs of disease.

Written by John Ankers

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