Ejiofor Ezekwe, Biology
"Damage-Induced Proliferation of Nasal Chemosensory Cells"
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Weihong Lin
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2009
The aim of this project is to study a relatively novel population of cells within the respiratory nasal epithelium called solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs). SCCs seem to play a role in conjunction with trigeminal never fibers in sensing adverse stimuli. In a preliminary study, we discovered that in mice with an occluded nostril, the number of SCCs increased dramatically. We hypothesized that this increase was due to the damage done to the nostril surgically, which led to increased SCC division in the respiratory epithelia. So in order to determine the effects of damage to the epithelium on cell division of SCCs, we plan to use the thymidine analog, Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), which can be incorporated into the DNA of dividing cells and used as a marker of cell division. In addition we will be using TRPM-5 GFP mice in which the TRPM-5 promoter drives the expression of green fluorescents protein (GFP) in SCCs allowing us to identify the cells. After euthanizing mice and obtaining and preparing the tissue we will be using immunohistochemistry and fluorescence microscopy to obtain a baseline number of cells. This data will be used in further studies to determine any changes in overall number or proliferation patterns in these cells.