News Releases & Research Results Establishment of a whole-organ/body imaging technique based on three-dimensional histology: An ideal protocol designed on the basis of physiochemical properties of biological tissues

News Releases & Research Results


The results of collaborative research and development (R&D) conducted by Laboratory Head Hiroki Ueda, Visiting Research Scientist Etsuo Susaki, and other members of the Laboratory for Synthetic Biology, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research.

The key results of R&D are as follows:

  • The research group established CUBIC-HistoVIsion (CUBIC-HV), namely whole-organ/body three-dimensional (3D) tissue-staining and observation technique available in combination with tissue clearing technology*1.
    *1: Histological method to clarify biological tissues such that they appear like glass, enabling the observation of the internal tissues with a light microscope.
  • The technique enabled homogeneous staining and 3D histological observation of whole mouse brains, a marmoset brain hemisphere, and a tissue block of a postmortem human brain with combination of the CUBIC*2 staining protocol and high-speed light-sheet microscopy*3.
    *2: A pipeline combining tissue clearing, 3D imaging, and imaging analysis for whole organ/body cell analysis. Abbreviation of "Clear, Unobstructed Brain/Body Imaging Cocktails and Computational analysis."
    *3: A microscope that can be used to image a specific plane (optical section) of a cleared sample by applying a laser sheet to the sample from the side and taking a picture from the above.
  • This R&D results can provide the world's most efficient 3D tissue staining technique to date, which can enhance our understanding of the biological systems at the scale of whole organ and body and significantly improve the accuracy and objectivity of diagnosis through 3D clinicopathological examinations.

This R&D project was conducted with the support of Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS) and Basic Science and Platform Technology Program for Innovative Biological Medicine by AMED.

The results of R&D were published in Nature Communications, an online scientific journal, on April 27.


Etsuo A. Susaki, et al. Versatile whole-organ/body staining and imaging based on electrolyte-gel properties of biological tissues Nature Communications


Last updated 04/27/20