Three-dimensional virtual histology enabled through cytoplasm-specific X-ray stain for microscopic and nanoscopic computed tomography
© ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Improved tissue staining can help imaging technology peer inside organs without damaging them.
Computed tomography (CT) scanning uses software-based reconstruction techniques to turn multiple 2D X-ray scans of body tissue into detailed 3D images. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich have now developed a procedure that can enhance CT scanning of intricate biological features.
CT scanning often uses contrast agents, chemicals that penetrate specific bioregions to provide a contrasting X-ray signal against a uniform background. The team reports a way to produce CT images with sub-micrometre resolution using a nontoxic organic dye. They improved the uptake of the dye by cell cytoplasm, increasing image contrast, by using acid treatments to render it susceptible to amino-acid bonding.
Experiments showed that the new staining protocol could visualize structures, including an intact mouse kidney, with enough clarity for diagnostic purposes.
- PNAS 115, 2293–2298 (2018). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1720862115
|Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
|TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar (MRI), Germany