Low-level lasers have been used to relieve pain in clinical for many years. But the mechanism is not fully clear. In animal models, nitric oxide (NO) has been reported involving in the transmission and modulation of nociceptive signals. So the objective of this study was to establish whether low-level laser with different fluence could stimulate the production of nitric oxide synthese (NOS), which produces NO in cultured primary dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRG neurons). The primary DRG neurons were isolated from healthy Sprague Dawley rats (8-12 weeks of age) and spread on 35 mm culture dishes specially used for confocal microscopy. 24 hours after spreading, cells were irradiated with 658 nm laser for two consecutive days at the energy density of 20, 40, 60 and 80 mJ·cm<sup>-2</sup> respectively. Control groups were not exposed to the laser, but were kept under the same conditions as the irradiated ones. The synthesis of NOS after laser irradiation was detected by immunofluorescence assay, and the changes of NOS were evaluated using confocal microscopy and Image J software. The results showed that all the laser fluence could promote the production of NOS in DRG neurons, especially the 60 mJ·cm<sup>-2</sup> . These results demonstrated that low-level laser irradiation could modify protein synthesis in a dose- or fluence- dependent manner, and indicated that low-level laser irradiation might achieve the analgesic effect through modulation of NO production.
The gas NO is a ubiquitous intercellular messenger that modulates a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological functions. But few studies were made to study the role of NO in the Ca<sup>2+</sup> release in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons by confocal microscopy. Thus the objective of this study was to assess if NO has a role in Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling in DRG neurons using confocal microscopy combined with special fluorescence probe Fluo-3/AM. A 100 μM concentration of the NO donors (Sodium Nitroprusside, Dihydrate, SNP) and NO synthase inhibitor (NG-Monomethyl-L-arginine, Monoacetate salt, L-NMMA) was used in the study. Results showed that the fluorescence intensity increased rapidly after injecting SNP, which indicated that SNP could enhance intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> release. And the fluorescence intensity shrank gradually with time and kept at a low level for quite a long period after loading with L-NMMA which indicated that L-NMMA could block intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> release. All these results demonstrated that NO was involved in the regulation of intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> release in the DRG neurons.
Lipid rafts are cholesterol- and glycosphingolipids- enriched microdomains on plasma membrane surface of mammal cells, involved in a variety of cellular processes. Depleting cholesterol from the plasma membrane by drugs influences the trafficking of lipid raft markers. Optical imaging techniques are powerful tools to study lipid rafts in live cells due to its noninvasive feature. In this study, breast cancer cells MCF-7 were treated with different concentrations of MβCD to deplete cholesterol and an environmentally sensitive fluorescence probe, Laurdan was loaded to image lipid order by two-photon microscopy. The generalized polarization (GP) values were calculated to distinguish the lipid order and disorder phase. GP images and GP distributions of native and cholesterol-depleted MCF-7 cells were obtained. Our results suggest that even at low concentration (0.5 mM) of MβCD, the morphology of the MCF-7 cells changes. Small high GP areas (lipid order phase) decrease more rapidly than low GP areas (lipid disorder phase), indicating that lipid raft structure was altered more severely than nonraft domains. The data demonstrates that cholesterol dramatically affect raft coverage and plasma membrane fluidity in living cells.