Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Steven Harrod


The iDISCO (immunolabeling-enabled three-dimensional imaging of solvent-cleared organs) method is a quick, inexpensive, and easily adaptable tissue staining and clearing procedure that allows neuroscientists to study a protein of interest in a whole, unaltered tissue sample. While the iDISCO method was initially tested and validated for mice embryos and brains, the current experiment sought to adapt the method for use in the rat using HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) rat brain tissue. Antibodies for tyrosine hydroxylase and Iba-1 were validated in the HIV-1 Tg rat and in F344/N control rats using iDISCO. Confocal images were taken of tyrosine hydroxylase positive neurons in the substantia nigra area of male and female HIV-1 Tg and F344/N control rats. The HIV-1 Tg female rat was determined to have the most positive TH staining, followed by the control male, HIV-1 Tg male, and control female. Viewing the brain as a whole system rather than a series of individual pieces is the biggest advantage of the whole-brain tissue clearing iDISCO method.


© 2020, Kristin Nickole Kirchner