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long lasting label for tracking cell migration?

Jerry Clayton jerry.clayton at UCHSC.edu
Sat Jan 27 01:47:26 EST 1996

Brian Scott wrote:
> Hello,
> I'd like to know if anyone could recommend a long lasting label which would
> allow us to track the migration of newborn cells within the rat CNS and
> allow us to visualize the cells for in vitro recording at their final
> locations.  The ideal situation would be to microinject the label into the
> area of interest and wait for three to four weeks.  Then visualize the cells
> in vitro with fluorescence and then do patch clamping when the cells are at
> their final locations.  Has this been done before?  Can a fluorescent probe
> last for this length of time in vivo?
> Thanks.
> Brian

You might try using some of the carbocyanine dyes on the market.  
These are lipophylic dyes that get incorporated into the lipid 
bi-layer and will actually show up in processes extending from 
growing cells into which it is incorporated.  Cell-cell contact does 
let it spread somewhat and that may be a problem.  They come in 
various "flavors" such as Di-I, Di-O etc. which fluoresce at 
different wavelengths.  In fact there have been double labeling 
studies done with these.  I believe a company called "Molecular 
Probes" markets some of them.  For In-vivo injection I have used 
DMSO as a solvent and pressure injected the dyes into brain tissue.  
These dyes work great in fixed tissue as well.  They give you 
beautiful color pictures!  Another option (somewhat high tech) is 
the use of virses to transfect cells with the DNA for "Green 
fluorescent protein" which can then be visualized under typical 
fluorescent optics.  There is also now a red version.  There have 
been several studies using viruses to ID cells during development.  
Some of my collegues and I are now trying to use this technique to 
ID infected neurons and by modifying optics used for brain slice 
recording direct the experimenter to the infected cell to "poke" and 
record.  Currently in very early stages so no progress to report.  
Good luck with your studies and feel free to drop a line if you have 
any questions.
Jerry Clayton
Univ. of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Denver, Colorado

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