Habecker Lab


 Our lab is focused on understanding the changes that occur in cardiac nerves after myocardial infarction (a heart attack). The pictures below show nerves are blocked from growing into the scar after MI (left), but knocking out the protein PTPσ allows the nerves to grow into the scar (right).


Axon Regeneration

Treating sympathetic neurons with nerve growth factor stimulates phosphorylation of STAT3 on serine 727 and increases nerve regeneration.

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Dr. Woodward using HPLC to quantify NE from nerves in the heart. We use mass spec to quantify ACh content from nerves in the heart. The figure above is a sample chromatograph of NE from cardiac tissue.

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             Samples are loaded into a tray for automated HPLC analysis

Neurotransmitter & Peptide Plasticity

The stellate ganglion contains most of the sympathetic neurons controlling the heart. The ganglia below are stained for ChAT (green), TH (red), and Hoechst (blue).Neurons in control ganglia make mainly TH (left), although nerve fibers in the ganglion contain ChAT. After MI (right) many neurons in the stellate express both TH and ChAT.
              stellate th-chat