- Science

Make rat bones transparent in the lab

With the current level of science and technology, we know that it is still a long way before the concept of invisibility comes true.

However, the researchers are taking steps toward that possibility by finding a way to make mice ‘organs or brains transparent and, most recently, bones.

Our bones are made up of living cells, surrounded by calcium and collagen. These cells play a role in forming, regenerating bones and producing new blood cells. Despite being responsible for a number of important processes within the body, until now, we still don’t know much about how these cells arrange and function. At the moment, there are two ways to see through the bone’s internal structure, but they are all quite “rough.”

The first way, crushing bones and extracting from which cells – a good way to count the number of cells but in this way, the original location of the cells can not be determined. The second way, cut the bone into thin slices and then place it on a microscope. The solution helps scientists know where the cells are located, but that’s only a small part of the problem. In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicin, scientists found a way to make bones transparent when they could solve the problem.

Biologist Viviana Gradinaru from the California Institute of Technology and her colleagues demonstrated their technique on rat bones, thereby giving hope for a better understanding of osteoporosis and other human diseases. someday in the future. “Bone transparency allows answering many questions that we couldn’t solve before,” said Corey Neu, a mechanical engineer at Colorado Boulder University. According to him, the new technology will be very useful in studying the aging process of cells, bone cancer, thereby suggesting more reasonable and effective treatments.

How did they do that?

Transparent bones are created after going through a process called CLARITY that was invented in 2013. The original purpose for the birth of CLARITY was to look through soft tissues. Based on this technique, Gradinaru and her team added a number of new processes that allowed them to see inside the thighs, tibia and backbone of genetically modified mice.

To do this, scientists removed calcium from the bones and used some chemicals to wash away excess fat and blood, freeing our eyes of the cells. . Next, Hydrogel will be injected to help protect the 3-dimensional structure of the bone and help chemicals flow inside.

A magnetic stirrer plate will be used to make the fluid move, allowing the chemicals to penetrate deeper into the bone. After 28 days, what’s left is clear and gelatinous bones that are enough for scientists to look into the fluorescent-coated cells inside. Neu, who was not involved in the study, said his lab tried to make the bone tissue transparent but could never achieve it.

What makes the new study truly a breakthrough lies in how scientists can remove minerals from bones without damaging the cells. In addition, the chemicals used are also common types that can be easily found. If you are still thinking about the pills that can help your body stealth when you read this paragraph, you may be disappointed: this technique is not effective in living things because bones need to be stirred. with chemicals for several weeks.

It will be a big challenge if we apply the same process on human bones because the bone is transparent, the chemicals must be absorbed into the inside, and the human bones are large so the time will certainly be much longer. Gradinaru thought that it might be necessary to cut the bones into small pieces to shorten the waiting time. Currently, Gradinaru and her team have used new techniques to learn how to treat osteoporosis and other bone disorders and have achieved positive results.

For the first time, seeing carbon can bond with 6 other atoms

A pyramid-shaped carbon molecule has just been studied for the first time and the special thing is that it’s not like what we have learned in basic chemical programming. This molecule contains a carbon atom, linked to 6 other atoms instead of 4.

We know that atoms form molecules by sharing electrons. Carbon has four electrons that can be shared with other atoms. But under certain conditions, carbon can go beyond this limit, according to Moritz Malischewski, a chemist at Freie University Berlin. It was he who synthesized and studied this molecule, called hexamethylbenzene. Typically, this compound is shaped like a rudder of a ship, which consists of 6 carbon atoms arranged at the tops of a hexagon.

In an experiment conducted in 1973, German chemists removed two electrons of the compound, then hypothesized that the structure of a positively charged version of C6 (CH3) 62+ would be break down, forming a new structure with pyramid shape. In this state, there are 6 electrons available to bind the top of the pyramid to the remaining 5 carbon atoms, Mr. Malischewski explained.

However, there has not been any other test to confirm this information, until today. It’s an anomaly, and that structure exists only in low temperatures, in highly acidic liquids. Therefore, Malischewski spent 6 months tinkering with a strong acid solution to produce this special compound, then took a few milligrams of crystal and observed it based on X-rays.

The X-ray diffraction pattern shows that this molecule is indeed a pyramid shaped like a 5-sided shape. Quantum measurements and other experiments have shown that a carbon atom with six bonds can exist, but the newly discovered crystalline structure is the most vivid evidence for those doubts. Dean Tantillo at the University of California, Davis.

“It sheds light on the nature of the bond and the limits of our understanding of organic chemical structures,” he said. Under normal temperature and humidity conditions, the molecule will destroy. right away, so it doesn’t seem to have any practical applications, like making a new type of carbon nanotube, but Malischewski said he was intrigued by the question of whether the molecule “It’s all a story of challenges that astonish chemists by what is possible,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *