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Technique That Turns Brain Transparent Allows Probing of Intact Neural Circuitry

M. J. Friedrich
JAMA. 2013;309(21):2204. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4961.
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A novel research technique named CLARITY that renders brain tissue transparent while preserving the integrity of the organ is creating a stir in the field of neuroscience—and beyond. By allowing scientists to examine intact neural connections in the brain postmortem, the approach is expected to help them gain a deeper understanding of the brain.

CLARITY was developed by a team of investigators led by Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, professor of bioengineering, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Previously, Deisseroth's laboratory came up with optogenetics, a groundbreaking technique that allows researchers to control the activity of neurons in living tissue by exciting them with light.

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In this 3-dimensional view of stained hippocampus from a brain made transparent by a new technique called CLARITY, different types of brain cells are revealed by fluorescing different colors: neurons (green), connecting interneurons (red), and supporting glia (blue).

(Photo credit: Deisseroth Laboratory/Stanford University)



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