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Comparison of Different Tissue Clearing Methods for Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of Human Brain Cellular Anatomy Using Advanced Imaging Techniques

Marina Scardigli, Luca Pesce and others 

Frontiers in Neuroanatomy


The combination of tissue clearing techniques with advanced optical microscopy facilitates the achievement of three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of macroscopic specimens at high resolution.

Whole mouse organs or even bodies have been analyzed, while the reconstruction of the human nervous system remains a challenge.

Although several tissue protocols have been proposed, the high autofluorescence and variable post-mortem conditions of human specimens negatively affect the quality of the images in terms of achievable transparency and staining contrast.

Moreover, homogeneous staining of high-density epitopes, such as neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN), creates an additional challenge.

Here, we evaluated different tissue transformation approaches to find the best solution to uniformly clear and label all neurons in the human cerebral cortex using anti-NeuN antibodies in combination with confocal and light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM).

Finally, we performed mesoscopic high-resolution 3D reconstruction of the successfully clarified and stained samples with LSFM.


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