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J Neurocytol. 2003 Mar;32(3):245-51.

Matching neural morphology to molecular expression: single cell injection following immunostaining.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6058, USA.


To match a neuron's morphology with its expression of a particular protein, it is useful to first identify the cell by immunostaining and then inject it with fluorescent dye. Such targeted injection cannot be performed with a hydrophilic dye (such as Lucifer yellow) because the neuron, once rendered porous to antibodies, does not retain it. But a lipophilic dye (such as DiI) injected iontophoretically into the soma forms a crystal and is thereby trapped. From this intracellular depot dye diffuses into the cell membrane to reveal the detailed morphology. We have used this strategy to identify the morphology of a GABAergic retinal bipolar cell and several types of GABAergic amacrine cell. In addition, we demonstrate probable connections from a narrow-field, GABAergic amacrine cell to the OFF brisk-transient ganglion cell. Finally, we show that the strategy works in the cortical slice, showing a layer IV cell immunostained for parvalbumin to be a "nest basket cell".

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