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NeuroScience Associates

Electrode Tract Detection


  • Electrodes or injection are commonly made into the brain or spinal cord. Determining the locations is essential for the recording of brain electrical events and for injections of an experimental substance.


  • The penetration into the brain or spinal cord by even the finest electrode or needle inadvertently nicks capillaries causes a small amount of blood to enter the parenchyma. The iron content of the red blood cells is soon released and remains in that location virtually permanently. Detection of the presence of the iron becomes an excellent means of revealing the tract and end points of electrodes and injection needles.In conjunction with the presence of the iron, the astrocytes in that locale are rendered in a persistent reactive state. Detection of this reactivity with staining with a GFAP antibody provides a means to cross check the iron date.


  • Transcardial perfusion with fix and execution of the Perls reaction histochemical procedure (for ferric iron) ensures successful tract identification.  Standard IHC methods for applying the GFAP antibody also allows for successful acquisition of data.


Perls-DAB Stain

Perls-DAB Stain-Magnified

GFAP Stain

GFAP Stain-Magnified

For further reference, please see: Stains

COVID-19 IMPACT: Our labs are currently OPEN for business. We are fully operational with uninterrupted delivery services ready to receive your tissue.


For clients with projects in process: NSA will communicate with you prior to shipping materials to ensure you are able to accept deliveries. If you are unable to receive deliveries due to the current global situation, NSA will hold shipments at our facility until your delivery system returns to normal. If you have not added digital imaging to your order but need it to expedite or continue your research, contact us right away so we can work together to meet your needs.

For clients with tissues, sections and/or slides located at our facility: Please allow us to help you continue your research, particularly if you are working remotely. We are able to perform additional stains, digitize slides for secure remote viewing, and perform additional analysis. Contact us today via email at or using our contact form.

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