Imaging toolkit enables study of retinal development in a stem-cell derived organoid
The retina is where we focus the world. Its dish-shaped layers of cells at the back of the eye respond to light with colourful chemical reactions, and convert them into impulses bound for the brain. Like the wiring of a camera’s sensors, the retina’s mechanics are both intricate and sensitive, so studying them in living eyeballs is challenging. Here though, scientists explore similar layers in a retinal organoid – a living model of the retina grown from stem cells, which they can compare with the real thing and make predictions based on their similarity. One technique called 4i (iterative indirect immunofluorescence imaging) scans thin slices of organoid tissue, spotting tell-tale fluorescent stains in cells such as rods (highlighted in red in this cross-section), cones (orange) and retinal ganglion cells (green). Experiments on this cellular 'atlas' may lead to treatments for diseases or insights into how eye development may go awry.
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