Literature Review: Clarification and Confocal Imaging of the Nonhuman Primate Placental Micro-Anatomy

Visikol is the leader in 3D tissue imaging and transforming tissues into quantitative three-dimensional insights. In addition to its best-in-class services, Visikol provides researchers with reagents and kits for 3D tissue imaging. Recently, Sargent et al. used the Visikol® HISTO™ reagents to develop a method for the reproducible 3D imaging of primate placenta tissue.

Recent advances in tissue clarification techniques allow for deep high-resolution imaging with confocal microscopy. In this experiment, the geometry of the placental villous vasculature, a key determinant of maternal-fetal nutrient exchange for optimal fetal growth was being examined. Until recently, assessment of the placental vasculature has largely relied upon stereological or vascular casting methods. Through the imaging of immunofluorescent-labeled and clarified tissue with a confocal microscope, new approaches are emerging that address the shortfalls of stereological and vascular casting methods [1]. To take advantage of the increasingly sophisticated confocal methodologies available, newer tissue clarification methods have been developed that are either based on hydrogel embedding, hyper-hydration, simple immersion or solvent-based techniques; each of these having their respective deleterious effects on tissue structure, or compatibility issues with immunofluorescently labeled tissue. In this specific paper, the research group used the Visikol HISTO tissue clearing technique to interrogate placenta tissue, which allowed them to visualize the tissue in 3D in its entirety. In this study, the group was able to show a consistent and reproducible technique for generating large three-dimensional maps of placenta vasculature.

The Visikol HISTO products are available through Visikol and Abcam and allow researchers to easily and rapidly image whole tissues in 3D instead of traditional histological sectioning. 3D tissue imaging is used predominantly with complex and heterogenous tissues where research questions cannot be addressed with traditional histopathology. Contact Visikol at for any questions!

[1] Richardson DS, Lichtman JW. Clarifying tissue clearing. Cell 162(2), 246–257 (2015)

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