Tokyo: A Japanese research team has succeeded in turning mice transparent by administering them with special chemicals, a process the scientists say allows the observation of organs without dissection and contributes to studying progression of such diseases as cancers and diabetes, a media report said Friday.
The team comprised researchers from the government-backed Riken Institute and the University of Tokyo, Xinhua reported citing the Kyodo news agency. The research findings were published Thursday in the US scientific journal Cell.
The process involves perfusion of the mice's organs with a chemical cocktail, dubbed CUBIC, which decolorises blood efficiently. By subjecting the organs to CUBIC through blood vessels, the team was able to turn entire adult mice as well as specific organs transparent in 10-14 days.
While the technology existed to make mouse foetuses and the brains of adult mice transparent, turning adult mice and internal organs containing large amounts of blood colorless had been difficult.
The process can also be used to mark particular types of cells to observe parts of the body in 3D. By marking the insulin-producing cell masses in the pancreas of a diabetic mouse and making the rest of the pancreas transparent, the team could observe the cell masses reduce in number.
Kazuki Tainaka, a researcher at the University of Tokyo who co-authored the paper, said the findings "will have uses in many fields, such as research into the progression of cancer in organs."