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'Cars' imaging reveals clues to myelin damage

ence Research. The paper was authored by biomedical engineering doctoral student Yan Fu and postdoctoral research associate Haifeng Wang; Terry B. Huff, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry; Riyi Shi, an associate professor of basic medical sciences in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine and an associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Cheng.

"The findings of this study will help us to identify key steps in the progression of the demyelination, which is a hallmark of multiple sclerosis," said Shi, a researcher at Purdue's Institute for Applied Neurology and Center for Paralysis Research. "This information will also facilitate the design of pharmaceutical interventions that slow down or even reverse the development of the debilitating disease."

The researchers used CARS to study and take images of healthy and diseased myelin. The researchers showed that an enzyme called cytosolic phospholipase A2 contributes to myelin degradation by snipping off one of the two tails that make up lipid molecules contained in the myelin. Cutting off one of the tails turns the lipid molecules into LPC, amplifying the effect and further degrading the myelin.

The research was carried out in spinal cord tissues extracted from animals and in the sciatic nerves of living mice.

Findings were confirmed by comparing CARS results with electron microscope images and measurements of electrical impulses in spinal cord tissue that distinguish between normal and diseased myelin.

CARS imaging takes advantage of the fact that molecules vibrate at specific frequencies. In a CARS microscope, two laser beams are overlapped to produce a single beam having a new frequency representing the difference between the original two beams. This new frequency then drives specific molecules to vibrate together "in phase," amplifying the signals from those molecules.


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Contact: Emil Venere,
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
27-Jun-2007


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