Studies in Neuroendocrine Organization Lab (NEO) are primarily based on multiple-label immunohistochemical procedures of human brain tissue combined with silver amplification methods. These protocols require precise orientation of the examined brain areas that can be performed only under stereomicroscopic control. Moreover, the sensitive silver impregnation techniques demand continuous low-power microscopic verification of the processed slides. These studies are carried out utilizing Stereomaster 8-40 zoom stereomicroscope combined with FiberLite fiber optic light sources.
Morphological analysis of the human brain tissue is performed utilizing BX45 Olympus microscope combined with a high resolution DP12 digital camera system. The optical interface is connected to a powerful dual-processor computer that analyses the microscopical images. Image analysis of the micrographs provides visual maps of the different peptidergic neurotransmitter systems of the human brain. Further processing of the digitalized sections can be concluded in complete 3D models of the examined brain areas highlighting the positively labeled neurotransmitter elements. These models can be virtually re-sectioned at any required planes, and can be arranged in stereoscopic pairs providing complete 3D look of the examined systems without expensive holographic instruments.
Neuroendocrine Organization Lab (NEO) collaborates with several scientific institutions including laboratories based on neuroendocrine and Alzheimer’s disease studies. Furthermore, NEO also provides services primarily for pharmaceutical companies that are interested to perform morphological analysis utilizing immunohistochemical and basic histological methods. These services include comprehensive 3D mapping and computer-guided modeling of the immunoreactive elements in the required tissue sample.
Immunohistochemical procedures require high quality brain sections with low post-mortem time at 25-35 µm thickness. Brain tissue slices for our studies are obtained using a precision radial microtome (Erma Inc, Tokyo, Japan) with a Physitemp BFS-5MP temperature-controlled freezing unit. This microtome provides uniform free-floating sections that are collected into multiple consecutive series for further processing. This technique gives a unique opportunity to digitally reconstruct entire brain areas including the human diencephalon and identify the pattern of neurotransmitter systems on the consecutive sections.
Neuroendocrine Organization Lab (NEO) provides a unique research opportunity for medical students at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) who are interested in fast-pacing clinically oriented research at the field of human neuroendocrinology and Alzheimer’s disease. Since NEO focuses on studies performed primarily on human brain tissue, our current projects are of great scientific interest due to their prompt clinical applicability. Studies at NEO are funded by both intramural and extramural resources, enjoying the extensive support of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).