Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Label-free imaging of intact brain organoids tracks early brain development in cells derived from normal and Rett syndrome-affected tissue

27 August 2022

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Investigating diseases that affect an organ as complex as the brain is a challenge; one met using lab-grown brain replicas called brain organoids. However, these organoids are difficult to image due to their thickness. Researchers now present a solution – label-free, 3-photon microscopy – to image brain organoids at greater depths (pictured). This approach generates a special signal that penetrates deep within tissues and highlights cells without needing to label them. First, the team created organoids using human induced pluripotent stem cells from healthy patients or those with the brain disease Rett syndrome. Imaging deep within the organoids revealed that an area called the ventricular zone, which is vital for producing cells that mature into different types of brain cells, was thinner in mutant organoids. Live cell imaging revealed cells moved through this zone more slowly and circuitously in mutants too. This imaging system, therefore, offers useful insights into brain disease using organoids.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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