Multimodal factor evaluation system for organismal transparency by hyperspectral imaging

Takumi T. Shito, Kotaro Oka, Kohji Hotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organismal transparency constitutes a significant concern in whole-body live imaging, yet its underlying structural, genetic, and physiological foundations remain inadequately comprehended. Diverse environmental and physiological factors (multimodal factors) are recognized for their influence on organismal transparency. However, a comprehensive and integrated quantitative evaluation system for biological transparency across a broad spectrum of wavelengths is presently lacking. In this study, we have devised an evaluation system to gauge alterations in organismal transparency induced by multimodal factors, encompassing a wide range of transmittance spanning from 380 to 1000 nm, utilizing hyperspectral microscopy. Through experimentation, we have scrutinized the impact of three environmental variables (temperature, salinity, and pH) and the effect of 11 drugs treatment containing inhibitors targeting physiological processes in the ascidian Ascidiella aspersa. This particular species, known for its exceptionally transparent eggs and embryos, serves as an ideal model. We calculated bio-transparency defined as the mean transmittance ratio of visible light within the range of 400–760 nm. Our findings reveal a positive correlation between bio-transparency and temperature, while an inverse relationship is observed with salinity levels. Notably, reduced pH levels and exposure to six drugs have led to significant decreasing in bio-transparency (ranging from 4.2% to 58.6%). Principal component analysis (PCA) on the measured transmittance data classified these factors into distinct groups. This suggest diverse pathways through which opacification occurs across different spectrum regions. The outcome of our quantitative analysis of bio-transparency holds potential applicability to diverse living organisms on multiple scales. This analytical framework also contributes to a holistic comprehension of the mechanisms underlying biological transparency, which is susceptible to many environmental and physiological modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0292524
JournalPloS one
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Oct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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