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A genetic disorder of the nervous system, neurofibromatosis causes tumors to form on nerves throughout the body, including a type of tumor called an optic nerve glioma that can result in childhood blindness. The image was used to demonstrate the unique imaging capabilities of one of our newest (at the time) laser scanning microscopes and is of a wildtype (normal) mouse retina in the optic fiber layer. This layer is responsible for relaying information from the retina to the brain and was fluorescently stained to reveal the distribution of glial cells (green), DNA and RNA in the cell bodies of the retinal ganglion neurons (orange) and their optic nerve fibers (red), and actin in endothelial cells surrounding a prominent branching blood vessel (blue). By studying the microscopic structure of normal and diseased retina and optic nerves, we hope to better understand the altered biology of the tissues in these tumors with the prospects of developing therapeutic interventions.


Tom Deerinck, NCMIR

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National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research

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This page last reviewed on April 26, 2011