Morphological and electrophysiological studies have shown that neurons respond to specific mechanical environments. However, studies linking specific neuropeptide release based on changes in the mechanical environment are lacking. To further study the effect of mechanical stress on the cells of the nervous system, DRG cells isolated from Sprague-Dawley rats have been cultured on a mechanical stress platform which is then subjected to 20% tensile strain. To study the chemical peptide profile of the DRG cell cultures under applied strain, this system was coupled with off-line matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometric (MALDI-MS) analysis. Initial experiments have shown that we are able to measure neuropeptide using the current system. The initial analysis shows that release does occur due to the application of strain and, when compared with cells subjected to chemical stimulation via a high potassium media bath, it was found that both types of stimulation elicit their own as well as shared peptide release responses.
Emily is a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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