Tissue preparation and immunostaining of mouse sensory nerve fibers innervating skin and limb bones

Andrew J. Shepherd, Durga P. Mohapatra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Detection and primary processing of physical, chemical and thermal sensory stimuli by peripheral sensory nerve fibers is key to sensory perception in animals and humans. These peripheral sensory nerve fibers express a plethora of receptors and ion channel proteins which detect and initiate specific sensory stimuli. Methods are available to characterize the electrical properties of peripheral sensory nerve fibers innervating the skin, which can also be utilized to identify the functional expression of specific ion channel proteins in these fibers. However, similar electrophysiological methods are not available (and are also difficult to develop) for the detection of the functional expression of receptors and ion channel proteins in peripheral sensory nerve fibers innervating other visceral organs, including the most challenging tissues such as bone. Moreover, such electrophysiological methods cannot be utilized to determine the expression of non-excitable proteins in peripheral sensory nerve fibers. Therefore, immunostaining of peripheral/visceral tissue samples for sensory nerve fivers provides the best possible way to determine the expression of specific proteins of interest in these nerve fibers. So far, most of the protein expression studies in sensory neurons have utilized immunostaining procedures in sensory ganglia, where the information is limited to the expression of specific proteins in the cell body of specific types or subsets of sensory neurons. Here we report detailed methods/protocols for the preparation of peripheral/visceral tissue samples for immunostaining of peripheral sensory nerve fibers. We specifically detail methods for the preparation of skin or plantar punch biopsy and bone (femur) sections from mice for immunostaining of peripheral sensory nerve fibers. These methods are not only key to the qualitative determination of protein expression in peripheral sensory neurons, but also provide a quantitative assay method for determining changes in protein expression levels in specific types or subsets of sensory fibers, as well as for determining the morphological and/or anatomical changes in the number and density of sensory fibers during various pathological states. Further, these methods are not confined to the staining of only sensory nerve fibers, but can also be used for staining any types of nerve fibers in the skin, bones and other visceral tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3485
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number59
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Bone
  • CGRP
  • Immunostaining
  • Issue 59
  • NF200
  • Neuroscience
  • Pain
  • Plantar punch
  • Sensory nerve fiber
  • Skin
  • TRPV1
  • Tubulin

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Tissue preparation and immunostaining of mouse sensory nerve fibers innervating skin and limb bones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this