Clearing Up the Gray Matter: Olympus SCALEVIEW-A2 and 25x Objective Make Tissue Transparent, Allow 4mm-deep Microscope Imaging

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., October 26, 2011 - Scientists often study life processes by peering into biological organisms to see their structure and function. But brains and other tissues are almost all opaque, making it difficult to see deep inside. Now, thanks to a liquid that can literally make tissue transparent and minimizes light scatter, along with a new super-long-working-distance Olympus microscope objective, scientists are producing vivid 3D images of structures deep inside mouse brains and other animal organs.The reagent was developed by a research team at RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan; Olympus is now offering it, together with its specially designed 25x, NA1.0, 4mm-working-distance companion objective, to researchers in North and South America.

The SCALEVIEW-A2 reagent and SCALEVIEW 25x objective are designed to boost the capability of multiphoton microscopy and allow scientists to look deeper into tissue than they ever could before. In the mouse brain, for instance, the RIKEN team has imaged neurons and blood vessels down beyond the white matter, 4mm beneath the surface. Until now, even advanced optical methods did not allow researchers to see this deep beneath the surface due to light scatter within the tissue. Furthermore, most optical techniques required slicing dead biological tissue into very thin sections, which damaged specimens and made it challenging to visualize exactly how slices fit together and, critically, how neural filaments connect throughout the brain.

"I'm very excited about the potential,"said Dr. Atsushi Miyawaki, part of the RIKEN research team in a recent interview with The New York Times.Dr. Miyawaki's team is working on imaging the mouse brain as part of the worldwide Connectome project - a global effort to understand the structure, interconnectivity and function of animal (and ultimately human) brains. The reagent and objective may help neuroscientists map the architecture of the mouse brain, and ultimately, other organs as well.

There are two keys to the research protocol. First, the reagent clarifies fixed biological tissue and makes it gelatinous and clear. Next, the specially designed microscope objective, which has been optimized to work with the refractive index of the reagent, allows researchers to use the Olympus FluoView FV1000®-MPE multiphoton microscope to collect images up to 4mm beneath the surface. The result is detailed, crisp images captured deeper into contiguous tissue than was ever possible before.

The SCALEVIEW-A2 chemical reagent and SCALEVIEW 25x objective were designed to optimize imaging in small mammal brain tissue, but Miyawaki and his team say that it is possible to use the reagent to clarify other fixed tissues. In addition, the RIKEN team is working toward a system that may work on living tissue. Their initial results were published in Nature Neuroscience ( in August 2011 and have since been covered in news media throughout the world.

Dr. Miyawaki will discuss the imaging breakthrough as one of the featured speakers at the 2nd annual Olympus Brain Imaging Symposium on Sunday November 13, to be held in conjunction with the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC. For more information, to register to attend the symposium, or to register to see the symposium later via webcast, visit

For more information on the SCALEVIEW-A2 reagent and the SCALEVIEW 25x objective, contact Brendan Brinkman, Olympus America Inc., phone 424-298-7402 or email [email protected].

About Olympus America Inc., Scientific Equipment Group
Olympus America Scientific Equipment Group provides innovative microscope imaging solutions for researchers, doctors, clinicians and educators. Olympus microscope systems offer unsurpassed optics, superior construction and system versatility to meet the ever-changing needs of microscopists, paving the way for future advances in life science.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in its core business areas: Medical and Surgical Products, Life Science Imaging Systems, Industrial Measurement and Imaging Instruments and Cameras and Audio Products. Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced research, clinical and educational microscopes and research and educational digital imaging systems;
  • Industrial research, engineering, test, inspection and measuring instruments; and
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves the healthcare field with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit

Olympus and FluoView are trademarks or registered trademarks of Olympus Corporation, Olympus America Inc. and/or their affiliates.

Media Contact Only:
Ilene K. Semiatin
Edge Communications Inc.
(914) 684-0959
[email protected]