Department

Chemistry

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Creation Date

Spring 2020

Narrative

In addition to neurons and other types of glial cells, astroglia are distinct star-shaped cells found in the brain and spinal cord. Astroglia play important roles in degenerative neuropathic pain by producing and consuming certain chemical species that correlate to cell stress. This image is the result of an overlay of a fluorescent-captured microscopic image with a direct image of astroglia cells. The green-colored cells are observed after incubating the astroglia with a specific chemical probe for our chemical of interest - nitric oxide. The more intense the green in each area, the higher the concentration of the nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an important messenger between the astroglia and surrounding neurons and is proposed to be correlated with relief from pain. Forming this overlay allows us to visualize the localization of this chemical within the astroglia and compare it to astroglia experiencing different environmental conditions. We can then compare the production rate of the nitric oxide and how changing the environment affects this. Finding conditions that increase or decrease production for this molecule is important for the development of therapeutic treatments for people who experience neuropathic pain.

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