Imaging neuroprotection: our new imaging chamber lets us see what happens in real time!

Thank you to a terrific group of donors, we embarked on a project in 2016 to continue our investigation of factors relevant to neuroprotection in MS. As an add-on to our fluorescent microscope, an incubation chamber enabled us to study cells – neurons, glia, and others – as they interact in settings that model an inflammatory environment like that in MS lesions. Pierre has several years experience in microscopy, and was thrilled to work and collect images and movies that enable us to study these cells over time, without the stress of moving tissue culture dishes in and out of the much larger tissue culture incubator.IMG_0311

Check out a sample of our neurons in a tissue culture dish. You’ll see big neurons with numerous processes throughout the field, and watch over time as glia, or support cells, move between neurons to sample the environment and “checking in” on neurons as they communicate with each other. Watch the cells in the top of the image move and divide over time. The neurons have a larger cell body and are less motile because they are quite firmly adherent to the tissue culture plate. Glia on the other hand, are more motile on this surface, and are more often the cells you see moving around the image. This movie was filmed over 12 hours.



And here’s one more: watch carefully as you can see the tiny, thin long processes from one cell reach out to others: this is how neurons and other cells communicate and send messages. In the lower half of the image and towards the right side you can see two rather large neurons. At different times you can see the long arms or processes of each of these cells extending out, with tiny fingers at the ends: these fingers are sensing the area as they determine which direction to head towards next.