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Art of Science image titled Waves

Scientist Collaborator Allison Yukiko Louie

Andrew Steelman Laboratory

Zeiss 710 Multiphoton Confocal Microscope 

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign start-up funds and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Pilot Research Grant

Myelination is an important process in the brain where a fatty substance called myelin is formed around axons of neurons. The formation of myelin increases the speed of electrical signals traveling along the axons, thus playing a vital role in the central nervous system. Researchers are investigating the effects of diet and disease on myelination processes using mouse brains. 

A tissue-clearing technique called CLARITY (Clear Lipid-exchanged Acrylamide-hybridized Rigid Imaging/ Immunostainingcompatible Tissue-hYdrogel) was used to render the brain tissue transparent while maintaining an intact protein scaffold. The image, taken with a confocal microscope, shows a sagittal section of the mouse brain immunostained with anti-proteolipid protein. This piece conveys the fragile yet complex nature of the brain.