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J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Jan 18;139(2):583-586. doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b10727. Epub 2016 Dec 30.

Label-free Imaging of Neurotransmitter Acetylcholine at Neuromuscular Junctions with Stimulated Raman Scattering.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University , Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, United States.


Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that relays neural excitation from lower motor neurons to muscles. It also plays significant roles in the central nervous system by modulating neurotransmission. However, there is a lack of tools to directly measure the quantity and distribution of acetylcholine at the subcellular level. In this Communication, we demonstrate for the first time that label-free imaging of acetylcholine is achieved with frequency-modulated spectral-focusing stimulated Raman scattering (FMSF-SRS) microscopy: a technical improvement over traditional SRS microscopy that effectively removes imaging backgrounds. Moreover, we directly quantified the local concentration of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction of frog cutaneous pectoris muscle.

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