UNIT 2.11 Ballistic Labeling with Fluorescent Dyes and Indicators

  1. Joshua L. Morgan,
  2. Rachel O.L. Wong

Published Online: 1 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0211s43

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Morgan, J. L. and Wong, R. O. 2008. Ballistic Labeling with Fluorescent Dyes and Indicators. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 43:2.11:2.11.1–2.11.10.

Author Information

  1. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2008
  2. Published Print: APR 2008


Neuronal cell labeling is fundamental to investigations of the nervous system. Labeling of cells in live or fixed tissue with dyes or ion indicators using ballistic approaches has recently been developed for the study of neuronal architecture and function. In this approach, dye-coated particles are propelled into cells by a pulse of pressurized helium. This unit provides step-by-step protocols for coating tungsten particles with fluorescent or indicator dyes and for delivering these particles into cells and tissue. The major advantage of the ballistic method of dye delivery is that large populations of neurons can be rapidly labeled within a piece of live or fixed tissue. Advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed and technical advice is provided. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 43:2.11.1-2.11.10. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • ballistic cell-labeling;
  • Gene Gun;
  • particle-mediated dye delivery;
  • fluorescent dyes