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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jun 2019 - 14 Jun 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jun 10

Sci Rep



Immunostaining in whole-mount lipid-cleared peripheral nerves and dorsal root ganglia after neuropathy in mice.


Bernal L, Cisneros E, García-Magro N, Roza C
Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 10; 9(1):8374.
PMID: 31182787.


Immunohistochemical characterization of primary afferent fibers (intact or after nerve damage) is traditionally performed in thin sections from dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) or in teased fibers, as light scattering in whole-mounts compromises visualization. These procedures are time-consuming, require specific equipment and advanced experimental skills. Lipid-clearing techniques are increasing in popularity, but they have never been used for the peripheral nervous system. We established a modified, inexpensive clearing method based on lipid-removal protocols to make transparent peripheral nerve tissue (inCLARITY). We compared retrograde-labeling and free-floating immunostaining with cryo-sections. Confocal microscopy on whole-mount transparent DRGs showed neurons marked with retrograde tracers applied to experimental neuromas (Retrobeads, Fluoro-ruby, Fluoro-emerald, DiI, and Fluoro-gold). After immunostaining with calcitonin gene-related peptide (peptidergic) or isolectin IB4 (non-peptidergic), nociceptors were visualized. Immunostaining in transparent whole-mount nerves allows simultaneous evaluation of the axotomized branches containing the neuroma and neighboring intact branches as they can be mounted preserving their anatomical disposition and fiber integrity. The goal of our study was to optimize CLARITY for its application in peripheral nerve tissues. The protocol is compatible with the use of retrograde tracers and improves immunostaining outcomes when compared to classical cryo-sectioning, as lack of lipids maximizes antibody penetration within the tissue.