Efficient Tissue Clearing and Multi-Organ Volumetric Imaging Enable Quantitative Visualization of Sparse Immune Cell Populations During Inflammation

Hofmann, J., Gadjalova, I., Mishra, R., Ruland, J., Keppler, S. J. (2021). Front Immunol 11, 599495.

DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2020.599495(link is external)


Spatial information of cells in their tissue microenvironment is necessary to understand the complexity of pathophysiological processes. Volumetric imaging of cleared organs provides this information; however, current protocols are often elaborate, expensive, and organ specific. We developed a simplified, cost-effective, non-hazardous approach for efficient tissue clearing and multi-organ volumetric imaging (EMOVI). EMOVI enabled multiplexed antibody-based immunolabeling, provided adequate tissue transparency, maintained cellular morphology and preserved fluorochromes. Exemplarily, EMOVI allowed the detection and quantification of scarce cell populations during pneumonitis. EMOVI also permitted histo-cytometric analysis of MHC-II expressing cells, revealing distinct populations surrounding or infiltrating glomeruli of nephritic kidneys. Using EMOVI, we found widefield microscopy with real-time computational clearing as a valuable option for rapid image acquisition and detection of rare cellular events in cleared organs. EMOVI has the potential to make tissue clearing and volumetric imaging of immune cells applicable for a broad audience by facilitating flexibility in organ, fluorochrome and microscopy usage.