3D molecular phenotyping of cleared human brain tissues with light-sheet fluorescence microscopy

Luca Pesce, Marina Scardigli, Vladislav Gavryusev, Annunziatina Laurino, Giacomo Mazzamuto, Niamh Brady, Giuseppe Sancataldo, Ludovico Silvestri, Christophe Destrieux, Patrick R. Hof, Irene Costantini, Francesco S. Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The combination of optical tissue transparency with immunofluorescence allows the molecular characterization of biological tissues in 3D. However, adult human organs are particularly challenging to become transparent because of the autofluorescence contributions of aged tissues. To meet this challenge, we optimized SHORT (SWITCH—H2O2—antigen Retrieval—TDE), a procedure based on standard histological treatments in combination with a refined clearing procedure to clear and label portions of the human brain. 3D histological characterization with multiple molecules is performed on cleared samples with a combination of multi-colors and multi-rounds labeling. By performing fast 3D imaging of the samples with a custom-made inverted light-sheet fluorescence microscope (LSFM), we reveal fine details of intact human brain slabs at subcellular resolution. Overall, we proposed a scalable and versatile technology that in combination with LSFM allows mapping the cellular and molecular architecture of the human brain, paving the way to reconstruct the entire organ.

Original languageEnglish
Article number447
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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