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Biophys J. 2015 May 5;108(9):2384-95. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.02.034.

Anomalous extracellular diffusion in rat cerebellum.

Author information

1
Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York.
2
Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York; Medical Physics Laboratory, Nathan S. Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York.
3
Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York; The Robert F. Furchgott Center for Neural and Behavioral Science, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York. Electronic address: sabina.hrabetova@downstate.edu.

Abstract

Extracellular space (ECS) is a major channel transporting biologically active molecules and drugs in the brain. Diffusion-mediated transport of these substances is hindered by the ECS structure but the microscopic basis of this hindrance is not fully understood. One hypothesis proposes that the hindrance originates in large part from the presence of dead-space (DS) microdomains that can transiently retain diffusing molecules. Because previous theoretical and modeling work reported an initial period of anomalous diffusion in similar environments, we expected that brain regions densely populated by DS microdomains would exhibit anomalous extracellular diffusion. Specifically, we targeted granular layers (GL) of rat and turtle cerebella that are populated with large and geometrically complex glomeruli. The integrative optical imaging (IOI) method was employed to evaluate diffusion of fluorophore-labeled dextran (MW 3000) in GL, and the IOI data analysis was adapted to quantify the anomalous diffusion exponent dw from the IOI records. Diffusion was significantly anomalous in rat GL, where dw reached 4.8. In the geometrically simpler turtle GL, dw was elevated but not robustly anomalous (dw = 2.6). The experimental work was complemented by numerical Monte Carlo simulations of anomalous ECS diffusion in several three-dimensional tissue models containing glomeruli-like structures. It demonstrated that both the duration of transiently anomalous diffusion and the anomalous exponent depend on the size of model glomeruli and the degree of their wrapping. In conclusion, we have found anomalous extracellular diffusion in the GL of rat cerebellum. This finding lends support to the DS microdomain hypothesis. Transiently anomalous diffusion also has a profound effect on the spatiotemporal distribution of molecules released into the ECS, especially at diffusion distances on the order of a few cell diameters, speeding up short-range diffusion-mediated signals in less permeable structures.

PMID:
25954895
PMCID:
PMC4423038
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2015.02.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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