141. polymer-based retrograde nano-tracers as tools for neuroanatomy

Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Graduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Nathan Gianneschi

Primary Student
Name: Nanzhi Zang
Email: nzang@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-246-0857
Grad Year: 2019

Advancements in neuroscience are facilitated by the development of powerful imaging tools. Currently, fluorescent nanoparticles capable of retrograde transportation, termed retrograde tracers, are the primary means of mapping a neuro's projection pattern. However, with only two colors of retrograde tracers commercially available, the mapping of a neuron's axonal target(s) remains limited. Herein, we report a series of retrograde nano-tracers with colors spanning the entire light spectrum. These tracers have the potential to exponentially increase the number of unique subpopulations of neurons that can be identified in a single experiment. A series of dyes were covalently incorporated into poly(acrylate) nanoparticles and characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), and flourimetry. In addition, in vivo mouse studies were performed to evaluate their retrograde transportation along neurons. In total, these nano-tracers provide a solid foundation for a neural toolbox which can be expanded to include MRI contrast agents, therapeutic drugs or therapeutic genes.

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