Thomas J. Deerinck Digital Image Gallery

Among the techniques utilized by Thomas J. Deerinck to capture the images presented below are confocal and multiphoton microscopy, as well as traditional polarized light methodology. Deerinck's expertise in optical microscopy has garnered him several prizes in the Nikon Small World competition, including first prize in 2002 and fourth prize in 2003. This gallery represents only a small portfolio of the amazing image collection assembled by Tom Deerinck over the past 25 years.

Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, is a carbohydrate-like substance essential for certain metabolic processes in animals. Although most species are able to synthesize ascorbic acid within their bodies, humans do not have the capability and must ingest the vitamin as part of their diet. This image of ascorbic acid was taken in polarized light.

  • Adenomyosis

    Ascorbic Acid

    Specimen: Recrystallized ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
    Technique: Polarized Light

    Because ascorbic acid is water-soluble, relatively large amounts are required by the body. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of ascorbic acid is 60 milligrams, which is a quantity sufficient to ward off the development of scurvy, a disease characterized by weakness, internal hemorrhaging, lesions, and loosening of the teeth. Many foods contain significant levels of ascorbic acid, particularly citrus fruits and tomatoes, but they should not be soaked or cooked in water if the nutrients are to be retained.

Cerebellum

The cerebellum is a lobed structure located near the base of the brain that is primarily involved with the coordination of bodily movement and the development and recollection of physical skills, such as bike riding. The size of the cerebellum in mammal species is a fairly reliable gauge of their physical aptitude. Featured in this section is a confocal microscopy image of a cerebellum thin section in which the glia are labeled orange and the nuclei are green.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Rat Cerebellum

    Specimen: Fluorescent Labeled Glia and Nuclei
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    Divided by the central vermis, the surface of the cerebellum is composed of gray matter that surrounds a large mound of white matter. The structure, the name of which means “little brain” in Latin, is connected to the larger part of the central nervous system by the cerebellar peduncles, three wide bands of white matter. Injury to the cerebellum or cerebellar peduncles is often associated with ataxia, tremors, vertigo, muscle weakness, and dysarthria, an inability to coordinate the muscles needed for speech. Damage to the region is extremely common in cases of multiple sclerosis.

Glia and Nuclei in Rat Cerebellum

Glia are the class of nerve cells that provide structural support for neurons. Also referred to as neuroglia, the cells are continuously capable of division and are more than ten times as abundant as neurons in the human brain. The digital image in this section features the glia and nuclei of a rat cerebellum mid-saggital section, and was captured with a BioRad Radiance confocal microscope. The glia are labeled orange and the nuclei are green.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Glia and Nuclei in Rat Cerebellum

    Specimen: Dividing cells in culture (triple labeled)
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    The Golgi apparatus, sometimes referred to as the Golgi complex or body, is composed of several flat membrane-covered sacs stacked together like plates. The structure is polarized and each face is biochemically distinct, each segment containing different enzymes. The organization of the Golgi apparatus into discrete compartments impedes the release of the enzymes, which, if combined, would result in uninhibited biochemical reactions inside the cell.

Hippocampus

The subcortical region of the brain known as the hippocampus is horseshoe shaped, receiving its name from its similarity to the seahorse. Part of the limbic system, the hippocampus plays a significant role in emotion and sexuality, as well as memory and spatial comprehension. Featured below is a digital image of the hippocampus that was triple labeled (glia in orange, neurofilaments in green, and nuclei in blue). The image was captured using a 2-photon microscope.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Hippocampus

    Specimen: Fluorescently labeled thin section
    Technique: Two-Photon Microscopy

    The Golgi apparatus, sometimes referred to as the Golgi complex or body, is composed of several flat membrane-covered sacs stacked together like plates. The structure is polarized and each face is biochemically distinct, each segment containing different enzymes. The organization of the Golgi apparatus into discrete compartments impedes the release of the enzymes, which, if combined, would result in uninhibited biochemical reactions inside the cell.

Mitotic Spindle

The process of mitosis, fundamental to eukaryotic cell replication, allows the nuclei of cells to divide and provides each daughter cell with a complete and identical set of chromosomes. The progression may take only a few minutes or may encompass several hours, largely depending upon plant or animal species and cell type. The digital image displayed below features fluorescently tagged dividing cells in which the mitotic spindle is green, the chromosomes are orange, and the peroxisomes are blue.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Mitotic Spindle

    Specimen: Fluorescently labeled cell culture
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    Highly dynamic, the mitotic spindle is composed of microtubules and associated proteins, which work together to form the mechanical framework needed for cellular division. During prophase, the important mitotic apparatus begins to form outside the nucleus at opposite ends of a cell, stretching from pole to pole. In metaphase, the mitotic spindle attaches to the centromere of each chromosome, moving them through the mitotic process. The chromatids of each chromosome are then pulled apart in anaphase and the spindle fibers disperse in telophase.

Mouse Neuromuscular Junctions

The process of mitosis, fundamental to eukaryotic cell replication, allows the nuclei of cells to divide and provides each daughter cell with a complete and identical set of chromosomes. The progression may take only a few minutes or may encompass several hours, largely depending upon plant or animal species and cell type. The digital image displayed below features fluorescently tagged dividing cells in which the mitotic spindle is green, the chromosomes are orange, and the peroxisomes are blue.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Mouse Neuromuscular Junctions

    Specimen: Fluorescent triple label
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    Neuromuscular junctions consist of nerve fibers divided into numerous branches, each ending on a region of muscle fiber referred to as the end-plate. Thousands of receptors are embedded in a single end-plate, forming ion channels through the cell membranes. Stimulation by a nerve impulse causes the branches to release small amounts of the chemical acetylcholine from synaptic vesicles. The acetylcholine then stimulates a protein on the muscle fiber surface, the acetylcholine receptor, triggering a series of reactions within the muscle and causing it to contract. In order to prevent extended muscle response to a single nerve signal, the acetylcholine is then broken down by the enzyme cholinesterase.

Purkinje Neurons and Glia of Rat Cerebellum

The German scientist Jan Evangelista Purkinje discovered large, branching cells in the cortex of the cerebellum in 1837. The so-called Purkinje neurons have been fervently studied since that time by scientists hoping to obtain a better understanding of the cerebellum. Featured below is a low magnification montage (also at low resolution) of a rat cerebellum thin section. The Purkinje neurons are labeled red and the glia are labeled green.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Purkinje Neurons and Glia of Rat Cerebellum

    Specimen: Double fluorescent labeled thin section
    Technique: Two-Photon Microscopy

    Purkinje neurons are some of the largest and most complex cells in the mammalian brain, possessing diameters almost as large as a human hair. Each of the cells exhibits an abundance of very active dendrites and is capable of receiving input from over 200,000 other cells. Yet, Purkinje neurons are the lone source of output from the cerebellum’s cortex. Their primary function is believed to be inhibitory, selectively suppressing and limiting excitatory impulses from other cells and crafting them into a coherent message that the rest of the brain can understand.

Rat Cerebellum Mid-Saggital Section

The cerebellum is a lobed structure located near the base of the brain that is primarily involved with the coordination of bodily movement and the development and recollection of physical skills, such as bike riding. Featured below is a montage taken with the BioRad RTS-2000 MP at 512 x 480 pixels per frame with 36 x 40 frames in x and y and 10 in z using 3 channels to yield a total of 43,200 images. The thin section was fluorescently labeled for the IP3 receptor in Purkinje neurons (green), GFAP in glial cells (red) and DNA in cell nuclei (blue).

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Rat Cerebellum Mid-Saggital Section

    Specimen: Fluorescently labeled thin section
    Technique: Two-Photon Microscopy

    Divided by the central vermis, the surface of the cerebellum is composed of gray matter that surrounds a large mound of white matter. The structure, the name of which means “little brain” in Latin, is connected to the larger part of the central nervous system by the cerebellar peduncles, three wide bands of white matter. Injury to the cerebellum or cerebellar peduncles is often associated with ataxia, tremors, vertigo, muscle weakness, and dysarthria, an inability to coordinate the muscles needed for speech. Damage to the region is extremely common in cases of multiple sclerosis.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Rat Cerebellum Mid-Saggital Section Enlargement

    Specimen: Fluorescently labeled thin section
    Technique: Two-Photon Microscopy

    Divided by the central vermis, the surface of the cerebellum is composed of gray matter that surrounds a large mound of white matter. The structure, the name of which means “little brain” in Latin, is connected to the larger part of the central nervous system by the cerebellar peduncles, three wide bands of white matter. Injury to the cerebellum or cerebellar peduncles is often associated with ataxia, tremors, vertigo, muscle weakness, and dysarthria, an inability to coordinate the muscles needed for speech. Damage to the region is extremely common in cases of multiple sclerosis.

Rat Cortex

The cortex comprises the heavily grooved surface of the brain and is composed primarily of gray matter, an area predominated by unmyelinated neurons and neuroglia. Also called the cerebrum or cerebral cortex, the distinctive folding shape of the human cortex developed during evolution as its volume grew more rapidly than the volume of the human skull. The confocal digital image displayed below reveals the structural detail of a rat cortex thin section that was double labeled for GFAP (orange) and cell nuclei (red).

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Rat Cortex

    Specimen: Double fluorescent labels
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    The wrinkles of the cortex are made up of grooves, known as sulci, and elevated ridges, called gyri. The deepest sulci are referred to as fissures and the longitudinal cerebral fissure divides the brain into its two hemispheres. At the bottom of the fissure is the corpus callosum, a thick bundle of nerve fibers that links the right and left hemispheres and enables them to communicate. In each person, one of the hemispheres is the most dominant, directing the specialized nervous operations for speech and thought, as well as establishing one’s spatial inclinations.

Tubulin

Tubulin is a globular protein that polymerizes to form microtubules, the filamentous network that helps maintain cell structure and participates in cell movement and division. Tubulin is fluorescently labeled without the use of antibodies in the digital image presented below. The living cells are expressing a recombinant tubulin, which contains a small tetracysteine motif that has a high affinity for a custom designed fluorescein-like molecule called FlAsH that binds to the biopolymer. The nuclear DNA is counterstained in blue.

  • Alveolar Cell Carcinoma

    Tubulin

    Specimen: Fluorescently labeled cell culture
    Technique: Confocal Microscopy

    Initially discovered in the 1950s, the first three-dimensional atomic model of tubulin was built by a team of scientists working for the United States Department of Energy after thirty years of attempts to unravel the mystery of the protein’s structure. A heterodimer, tubulin consists of a pair of polypeptide chains that have different amino acid sequences. Described as alpha tubulin and beta tubulin, both monomers exhibit three functional components, including one that binds to other proteins, one that connects to nucleotides, and one that attaches to drugs.

 

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