Butterfly in the Spine
When I captured this image, it had been a long cold winter with long days and nights in the lab. Suddenly, a colorful butterfly appeared under my microscope to say hello. Spring was around the corner! For the past two years, I have been researching multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Pain in multiple sclerosis patients, with remarkable prevalence up to ~90%, significantly reduces quality of life. My study attempts to identify CaMKIIŒ±, a key signaling molecule as a mechanism and a potential pharmacologic target for pain associated with multiple sclerosis. Pictured is a spinal cord section taken from mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model for multiple sclerosis. The slice was stained with antibodies for phosphorylated CaMKIIŒ± (green) representing the activation of CaMKIIŒ± and NeuN (red) as a neuronal marker. DAPI (blue) was used to counterstain the nuclei. The spinal dorsal horn, a major area for pain transmission and processing, is highlighted by the green fluorescence, revealing the activation of CaMKIIŒ± in multiple sclerosis. I hope that my research will result in the relief of pain for multiple sclerosis patients, such as the renewal of spring brings after a long winter.