New Publication: Rescuing Perishable Neuroanatomical Information from a Threatened Biodiversity Hotspot

Multi-modal brain imaging from reptile specimens capture and fixed under remote field conditions (right) without cold-storage capabilities: cranial gross anatomy of male Trioceros johnstoni imaged using diceCT imaging (top left), and cellular-level, neural networks imaged from the same taxon (adjacent to the third ventricle), using a tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity (-ir) stain (TH; red) with DAPI fluorescent counterstain (blue) (bottom left). (See manuscript for abbreviations.)

“Our understanding of the diversity and function in the vertebrate brain has been limited in part by the reliance upon laboratory facilities to preserve brain tissue under optimal conditions. In this study, we field-tested two standard laboratory-based techniques for brain preservation in an African biodiversity hotspot. We validated these protocols across multiple scales of analysis through cytoarchitectonic and immunohistochemical comparisons between field and laboratory-fixed tissue sets and diceCT imaging. In particular, diceCT images revealed excellent contrast of brain tissue structures, including myelinated and unmyelinated portions of the brain. Our protocol should serve as a malleable framework for researchers intending to explore the brains of poorly known and often inaccessible vertebrate species.”

– Project Leaders Daniel Hughes & Arshad Khan

Read the new paper over at PLOS ONE!