Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden have developed a new method for three-dimensional imaging of cells and other biological samples that can be used for studying gene expression and protein formation
The method, developed by Ulf Ahlgren at the Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine in collaboration with James Sharpe at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona and Dan Holmberg at the Department of Medical Bioscience, Umeå University, is based on a technique known as optical projection tomography (OPT).
The scientists have combined improvements in sample processing and tomographic data processing to develop the method, which makes it possible to create the 3D images.
The method is, for example, sensitive enough to track the degradation of insulin-producing cells in intact pancreases from a mouse model for type-1 diabetes. This demonstrates there is a direct connection between the volume of the remaining insulin-producing cells and the development of symptoms of diabetes.
The researchers say the technique is relevant to fields as diverse as the formation of blood vessels in tumour models, the analysis of biopsies and autoimmune infiltration processes.