Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

Remember the amazing “see all the cancer metastasis throughout the body”? The german research team at the Institute of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, which produced this shocking picture, made a big move more than two months later. In the latest issue of Cell, the research team led by Professor Ali Ert?rk presents a paper on a new technique called SHANEL that enables humans to transparent rapidly and completely tissues to various organs at the cellular level for the first time!

Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

It’s good to be alive, and science fiction is coming true.

What does that mean? As small as tissue slices, large to complete human organs, can be completely transparent under this technique, scientists can put every nuance of the organ, in 3D images accurate to the cell level, and the speed is much higher than in the past!


Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

Isn’t it science fiction, cool? Here’s how this technology works.

There are many problems that need to be addressed in order to look at human organs from the cellular level without hindrance. One might ask, can you do tissue slices and look under a microscope? It’s not clear how much work it is for tissue Clearing.

In the past, it took a lot of time and effort to make slices more than 1 mm thick transparent, until recent years, some new technologies broke through the thickness bottleneck, but it would take 10 months to prepare a slice of the human brain with a thickness of 8 mm.

What is the point? It is the non-soluble collagen, lipoloid and other substances that accumulate around human organs, far more than animals such as mice, which seriously hinders the penetration of chemical dyes. It’s hard to make organs transparent, let alone molecular markers and auxiliary imaging.

In the words of Zhao Shan, the paper’s first author, “We have to completely change the way we look for chemicals that make human organs transparent from scratch.” The team found a tissue cleaner called CHAPS, which can gather into small bundles to quickly penetrate and remove dense barriers around organs.

Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

The picture here is irrelevant.

SHANEL’s full name- small glue-mediated human organ transparency and marking (small-micelle-mediated human organ efficient clearing and labeling), is this small glue from CHAPS.

After experiments on organs such as pig brains confirmed the initial results, the researchers then performed a final test of the CHAPS cleaner in the brain.

After spending four months and a fee of about 3,200 euros, the brain “sees the light” for the first time, clear, transparent, and the reconstruction of 3D images becomes a reality.

Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

But with the new technology, there are a series of new problems to solve, such as small molecule fluorescent staining and antibody marking means, in the past used to use on millimeter-level tissue slices, put on the thickness of the whole organ, must keep pace with the times, the research team has made corresponding improvements.

Solve the problem of marking and dyeing, and then the microscope, can’t move an entire brain under the existing microscope to observe it? Even cutting into centimetre-sized slices goes beyond the ability of a normal microscope.

The team found a large guy called the Prototype light-sheet microscope, which has a volume that can be placed directly on the entire organ of the thyroid and kidneys treated by CHAPS.

Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

One look is to look at the whole waist, good

Finally, in order to analyze and process the huge amount of information generated by SHANEL technology, the team used deep learning algorithms to complete the classification and image mapping of 10-22 million brain cells in each part of the brain slice (about 1.5 cm thick) in a matter of hours.

It took so much effort that SHANEL technology would certainly come in handy. The team gave an example in the paper, such as the microscopic changes in the islet at the cellular level in type 2 diabetes, which is difficult to analyze holistically by existing means, but SHANEL technology can be fully mapped and clearly judged.

Super-glamorous: The first full transparency of human organs

Now that the research team has begun to map the technology for 3D mapping of larger organs such as the pancreas, heart and kidneys, Professor Ali Ert?rk believes that only a thorough understanding of these organs at the cellular level can solve the problem of artificial organ production, thus paving the way for the use of 3D bioprinting organs for organ transplantation.