A central effort of today's neuroscience is to study the brain's 'wiring diagram'. The nervous system is believed to be a network of neurons interacting with each other through synaptic connection between axons and dendrites, therefore the neuronal connectivity map not only depicts the underlying anatomy, but also has important behavioral implications. Different approaches have been utilized to decipher neuronal circuits, including electron microscopy (EM) and light microscopy (LM). However, these approaches typically demand extensive sectioning and reconstruction for a brain sample. Recently, tissue clearing methods have enabled the investigation of a fully assembled biological system with greatly improved light penetration. Yet, most of these implementations, still require either genetic or exogenous contrast labeling for light microscopy. Here we demonstrate a high-speed approach, termed as Clearing Assisted Scattering Tomography (CAST), where intact brains can be imaged at optical resolution without labeling by leveraging tissue clearing and the scattering contrast of optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI).
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