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A new technology makes the brain transparent

The University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) specialists have developed a technology that allows to observe a three-dimensional image of the brain and its circulatory system.

Stroke results in damaging brain vessels, resulting in oxygen and nutrients cease to flow to the cells. The visualization of capillaries is extremely important for understanding the processes occurring during and after the stroke occurred. Traditional injection of dyes allows to evaluate the vessels, but it has got a negative impact: capillaries may not be completely filled and leakage of paint is not excluded. Moreover, the histochemistry analysis is limited to two-dimensional objects: physicians cut the brain into layers and examine them under a microscope, according to New Scientist.

However, Dirk Hermann and Mathias Gunzer together with their colleagues, invented a new method that allows the entire brain to be examined. To do this, they injected a fluorescent gel into the mouse's heart, waited until it spread through the circulatory system throughout the body, and then the brain was removed and soaked with chemicals. "This is how the brain became transparent like a glass" says Hermann.

The scientists examined each and every mouse brain under a microscope, highlighting the fluorescent gel with a laser beam. The brain of the mouse that survived after a stroke first showed a three-dimensional picture of how the cerebral blood supply stops due to a stroke. "You can see which capillaries died and how the remaining ones were reorganized," says Gunzer.

Scientists from the Brown University managed to grow blood vessels inside the laboratory mini-brain. Despite the fact that the network of capillaries is not so frequent and there is no blood in them, scientists will be able to study more thoroughly such diseases as stroke or concussion with the help of an artificial brain.