MAX: a simple, affordable, and rapid tissue clearing reagent for 3D imaging of wide variety of biological specimens

Boram Lee, Ju Hyun Lee, Dai Hyun Kim, Eun Sil Kim, Bo Kyoung Seo, Im Joo Rhyu, Woong Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transparency of biological specimens is crucial to obtaining detailed 3-dimensional images and understanding the structure and function of biological specimens. This transparency or tissue clearing can be achieved by adjusting the refractive index (RI) with embedding media and removing light barriers such as lipids, inorganic deposits, and pigments. Many currently available protocols consist of multiple steps to achieve sufficient transparency, making the process complex and time-consuming. Thus, in this study, we tailored the recipe for RI adjustment media named MAX based on the recently reported MACS protocol to achieve a single-step procedure, especially for ECM-rich tissues. This was achieved by the improvement of the tissue penetrability of the RI-matching reagent by combining MXDA with sucrose or iodixanol. While this was sufficient for the 3D imaging in many applications, MAX can also be combined with modular processes for de-lipidation, de-coloration, and de-calcification to further maximize the transparency depending on the special features of the tissues. Our approach provides an easy alternative for tissue clearing and 3D imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19508
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Korea Basic Science Institute for technical support. This research was supported by the Brain Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is funded by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT, & Future Planning (NRF-2021M3E5D9021368 and NRF-2021R1A2C1010677). This study was also supported by research fund of Korea Medical Institute and a Korea University grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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