Histology, Immunocytochemistry & In Situ Hybridization
The Core provides perfusion, fixation, embedding, sectioning and staining of animal and human tissues. The senior histologist also trains investigators in these techniques.
- Standard Histology: Histological analysis of nervous tissue derived from experimental animals or human samples is used routinely by many IDDRC investigators. The senior histologist perfuses animals, dissects and embeds the tissue, sections tissue blocks, and stains them. Tissues can be embedded in different materials, including paraffin, celloidin, OCT and plastic.
- Electron Microscopy: An increasing number of IDDRC investigators utilize electron microscopy to study the ultrastructure of normal and pathological specimens. Many of these techniques are also used for Array Tomography. The Core prepares and cuts the samples for morphological analysis by electron microscopy. Investigators then use electron microscopes in the EM facility at Harvard Medical School to examine their samples.
- Immunocytochemistry and Histochemistry: Analysis of the pattern and level of expression of specific proteins in the brain is an important technique in neuroscience. This Core provides services for tissue localization of proteins as well as measurement of cell proliferation and cell death, using immunohistological and histochemical techniques. The Core provides consultation in experimental design and data interpretation, as well as the necessary controls and tests for specificity. IDDRC investigators provide the primary and secondary antibodies needed for a particular experiment. The Core Director provides advice for studies combining immunocytochemical methods with other labeling methods (e.g., in situ hybridization, histochemical).
- In situ Hybridization: This technique is a useful tool for analysis of gene expression in the central nervous system, allowing visualization of the location and level of expression of specific transcripts within cells and tissues. The Cellular Neuroscience Core provides expertise in different in situ hybridization techniques. This component of the Core assists IDDRC investigators in probe design, labeling strategies, and interpretation of results. Advice on the availability and use of online gene-expression databases is also provided. These include Gensat, BGEM (Brain Gene Expression Map), Allen Brain Atlas, Genepaint, and Mahoney Center for Neuro-Oncology Functional Genomic Atlas of the Mouse Brain
- Neuropathology (Consultation): The Core provides assistance with neuropathological interpretation of tissue samples.