Microsurgical dissection and tissue clearing for high resolution intact whole retina and vitreous imaging

Hossein Nazari, Maxim Ivannikov, Lorenzo Ochoa, Gracie Vargas, Massoud Motamedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Neuronal and vascular structures of the retina in physiologic and pathologic conditions can be better visualized and characterized by using intact whole retina imaging techniques compared to conventional retinal flat mount preparations and sections. However, immunofluorescent imaging of intact whole retina is hindered by the opaque coatings of the eyeball, i.e., sclera, choroid, and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the light scattering properties of retinal layers that prevent full thickness high resolution optical imaging. Chemical bleaching of the pigmented layers and tissue clearing protocols have been described to address these obstacles; however, currently described methods are not suitable for imaging endogenous fluorescent molecules such as green fluorescent protein (GFP) in intact whole retina. Other approaches bypassed this limitation by surgical removal of pigmented layers and the anterior segment of the eyeball allowing intact eye imaging, though the peripheral retina and hyaloid structures were disrupted. Presented here is an intact whole retina and vitreous immunofluorescent imaging protocol that combines surgical dissection of the sclera/choroid/retina pigment epithelium (RPE) layers with a modified tissue clearing method and light sheet fluorescent microscopy (LSFM). The new approach offers an unprecedented view of unperturbed vascular and neuronal elements of the retina as well as the vitreous and hyaloid vascular system in pathologic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere61595
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number169
StatePublished - Mar 11 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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