Cryogenically Frozen Rabbit Brain Hailed As Scientific First – Huffington Post

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To preserve the rabbit brain, the researchers used a new chemical technique called Aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation, or ASC, that involved the combination of processes called chemical fixation and cryogenic cooling.

First, the oily liquid glutaraldehyde was used to bind the proteins in the brain together, McIntyre said, and then ethylene glycol — a powerful antifreeze used in the automotive industry — was used to protect the brain from the extreme cold.

Next, the researchers cooled the brain to -135 degrees Celsius (or -211 degrees Fahrenheit), causing it to solidify into a glass-like state.

“Ice crystals never form because the ethylene glycol completely inhibits ice crystal formation,” McIntyre said. “At -135 degrees Celsius, the brain can be stored for centuries without further decay.”

When the organ was rewarmed, slices of it were examined, according to BPF.

“Every neuron and synapse looks beautifully preserved across the entire brain. Simply amazing given that I held in my hand this very same brain when it was vitrified glassy solid,” BPF president Dr. Kenneth Hayworth said in a statement. “This is not your father’s cryonics.”

McIntyre and his colleague Dr. Gregory Fahy, vice president and chief scientific officer at 21st Century Medicine, were awarded a $26,735 prize from BPF after demonstrating the ASC technique.

The company noted that ASC is not a technique for viable brain preservation, but may be used as a tool by neurobiologists to store rare or valuable brain material for indefinite periods of time.

“This is a technique designed for use by neuroanatomists to better study brain structure,” Fahy told The Huffington Post. “This is the first method that perfectly preserves the structure of an entire brain such that, unlike conventional methods, every single part of the brain can be studied in detail to build up a picture of the entire brain.”

Cryogenically Frozen Rabbit Brain Hailed As Scientific First – Huffington Post