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In Vivo Labeling of Cortical Astrocytes with Sulforhodamine 101 (SR101)


Nimmerjahn, Axel; Helmchen, Fritjof (2012). In Vivo Labeling of Cortical Astrocytes with Sulforhodamine 101 (SR101). Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, 2012(3):326-334.

Abstract

Fluorescent markers that stain particular cell types in the intact brain are essential tools for fluorescence microscopy because they enable studies of structure and function of cells identified in this way. Although cell type-specific fluorescence staining can be achieved through promoter-driven expression of fluorescent proteins, this genetic approach is generally labor- and cost-intensive. Alternative viral approaches for targeted fluorophore expression are relatively invasive. For astrocytes, there is a simple alternative. This protocol describes an easy and robust method for rapid (within minutes) and high-contrast staining of astrocytes in defined regions of the intact rodent cortex using the synthetic, water-soluble but non-fixable red fluorescent dye sulforhodamine 101 (SR101). Selective staining is achieved through local uptake and gap junction-mediated spread of SR101 following its topical application or injection into tissue. Applications, technical pitfalls, and limitations of the SR101-staining technique are discussed. Given its simplicity and reliability, SR101 staining is a valuable tool for the study of astrocyte function in the intact brain and for in vivo fluorescence microscopy in general.

Abstract

Fluorescent markers that stain particular cell types in the intact brain are essential tools for fluorescence microscopy because they enable studies of structure and function of cells identified in this way. Although cell type-specific fluorescence staining can be achieved through promoter-driven expression of fluorescent proteins, this genetic approach is generally labor- and cost-intensive. Alternative viral approaches for targeted fluorophore expression are relatively invasive. For astrocytes, there is a simple alternative. This protocol describes an easy and robust method for rapid (within minutes) and high-contrast staining of astrocytes in defined regions of the intact rodent cortex using the synthetic, water-soluble but non-fixable red fluorescent dye sulforhodamine 101 (SR101). Selective staining is achieved through local uptake and gap junction-mediated spread of SR101 following its topical application or injection into tissue. Applications, technical pitfalls, and limitations of the SR101-staining technique are discussed. Given its simplicity and reliability, SR101 staining is a valuable tool for the study of astrocyte function in the intact brain and for in vivo fluorescence microscopy in general.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:16 Apr 2012 10:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:45
Publisher:Cold Spring Harbor Press
ISSN:1559-6095
Funders:Boehringer ingelheim Fonds, Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, Max Planck Society, nternational Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSP), Swiss National Science Foundation
Additional Information:Adapted from Imaging in Neuroscience (ed. Helmchen and Konnerth). CSHL Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA, 2011.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1101/pdb.prot068155
PubMed ID:22383644

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