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Methods to assess metabolism are important analytical tools in neuroscience. The fluorophore nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is a parameter of cellular metabolism. NADH fluorescence was measured using a laser-based fluorescence detector with spectral and temporal filters. Distribution and intensity of NADH fluorescence were investigated in frozen brain sections. In sections containing hippocampus the intensity of NADH fluorescence was correlated to brain structures. In order to investigate the consequences of neurotoxic lesions, 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine was injected into the dorsal raphe nucleus 4 to 240 days prior to the measurement. NADH fluorescence decreased in the affected region by 50%, indicating that no recovery in metabolic activity had occurred.