Chemyx Syringe Pumps in Neuroscience Research
The classical field of neuroscience entails biological or psychological investigation of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and the systemic network of sensory nerve cells called neurons.1 Traditionally, this field comprised of purely biological studies but has since flourished into an interdisciplinary sphere addressing the developmental, physiological, pathological and psychological aspects of the nervous system.
Due to the diverse yet interconnected nature of this field, it integrates psychology, physics, chemistry and cutting-edge molecular biology in an effort to understand the complex nervous system and its role in cognition. In the pursuit of a biochemical, cellular and histological understanding of these processes, several scientific tools play an integral and extensive role in the field of neuroscience. The indispensable component of many of these studies is a definitive method for infusion, perfusion or injection of chemical/biological agents into the nervous system. Chemyx products provide authentic and reliable apparatus for these protocols in support of multiple facets of neuroscience.
Over the past 15 years of innovation and advancements, precision syringe pumps have been tailored to support the needs of neuroscientists operating in an academic or industrial environment. Chemyx laboratory syringe pumps have been established as genuinely easy-to-use and flexible equipment as evinced by the thousands of research article citations.
A wide array of studies, across many different aspects of neuroscience applications, require controlled drug infusion into specific parts of the nervous system or the circulatory system. The ability of a bioactive Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor, and more importantly its metabolic products, to affect cells in the brain by crossing the physiological blood-brain barrier was tested by continuous infusion of this drug into the circulatory system of mice using a programmable syringe pump.2 Accurate infusion of a GABA agonist, a drug that blocks neuronal activity, into mapped regions of monkey brain using a syringe pump was crucial for understanding the control of adaptive eye movements.3 This type of a study depends on consistent precision regarding the site, volume and pressure of injection in order to elucidate functional role of specific cluster of neurons in sensory cognition. Lastly, the effect of NMDA agonists on conditional fear in mice was studied by infusion of chemical agents directly into specific regions of the brain using syringe pumps, followed by behavioral analysis.4 The extensive utility of syringe pumps in pathological, neurological and/or psychological studies is testament to the flexibility of these products.
Along with chemical agents that help elucidate functions of the nervous system, several studies rely on infusion of biological agents as well. The advent of adenoviral transduction of living cells in vivo allowed manipulation and/or characterization of molecular pathways operating in cells or tissues.5 The successful infusion of adenoviral vectors in neuronal tissue has been already demonstrated using various methods, including convectional delivery into the central and peripheral nervous system using syringe pumps.6 In an analysis of lactate accumulation after neuronal excitation, biosensors for detecting lactate levels were expressed in supporting cells in the brain using adenoviral vectors infused into the cortical regions by syringe pumps.7 The study revealed a novel mechanism by which modulation of neuronal excitability is carried out by astrocytes which wrap around nerve cells. Apart from viral vectors, neural stem cells have also been micro-transplanted into basal ganglia of the brain of baboons using MRI-guided infusion by syringe pumps.8 This kind of accuracy to a submillimeter level in a minimally invasive procedure for stem cell therapy could potentially be crucial for clinical and developmental studies in neuroscience.
Future of Neuromedical Research
The capacity to regulate fluid flow by programming and precise infusion by Chemyx syringe pumps make them extremely useful in biomedical applications in neuroscience as well. The quality control of a cerebral shunt, a mechanical remediation for hydrocephalus,9 could be improved significantly by using a syringe pump to test the flow rate of a solution across the shunt.10 The diagnostic value of brain biopsies can be enhanced by using syringe pumps for push-pull perfusion which allows using microscopic tissue samples for biochemical analysis.11 The microdialysis probes used for these biochemical analyses can be flushed and maintained using syringe pumps.12 Lastly, the precise application of surgical exogenous Fibrin glue, used most commonly after neurosurgery, can be optimized by using syringe pumps.13
With all the diverse facets of neuroscience in its explorative and clinical disciplines, syringe pumps make for an essential part of the toolkit. As evinced by the numerous applications for Chemyx products, these syringe pumps are certainly contributing to the progress made in neuroscience.