1Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University, 2Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University, 3Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, 4Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Here we present a method to isolate and culture cerebellar granule neuron progenitor cells and cerebellar granule neurons from postnatal mouse.
Quantitative Analysis of Synaptic Vesicle Pool Replenishment in Cultured Cerebellar Granule Neurons using FM Dyes
A live fluorescence imaging technique to quantify the replenishment and mobilisation of specific synaptic vesicle (SV) pools in central nerve terminals is described. Two rounds of SV recycling are monitored in the same nerve terminals providing an internal control.
We present a protocol that permits to view and to quantitatively asses the morphology of the dendritic tree of individual Purkinje cells grown in organotypic cerebellar slice cultures. This protocol is intended to promote studies on the mechanisms of Purkinje cell dendritic development.
Visualization and Genetic Manipulation of Dendrites and Spines in the Mouse Cerebral Cortex and Hippocampus using In utero Electroporation
1Division of Molecular Neurobiology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, 2Confocal and Image Analysis Laboratory, National Institute for Medical Research, 3Physiopathologie de la plasticité neuronale, Neurocentre Magendie, Université de Bordeaux
This article describes in detail a protocol to electroporate in utero the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus at E14.5 in mice. We also show that this is a valuable method to study dendrites and spines in these two cerebral regions.
This study describes the development of an in vitro electroporation technique that allows for the manipulation of gene expression in the lower rhombic lip of midgestation embryos.
This protocol describes the isolation and dissociation of mouse medulloblastoma tissue, and subsequent allografting of the tumor cells into immunocompromised recipient mice in order to initiate secondary medulloblastoma.
This protocol describes the isolation, enrichment, and maintenance of medulloblastoma tumor stem cells derived from mutant mice with ectopic Sonic hedgehog pathway activity.
1Department of Neuroscience, The University of Connecticut Health Center, 2Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, The University of Connecticut Health Center, 3Stem Cell Institute, The University of Connecticut Health Center
This procedure yields telencephalic neurons by going through checkpoints which are similar to those observed during human development. The cells are allowed to spontaneously differentiate, are exposed to factors which push them towards the neural lineage, are isolated, and are plated onto coverslips to allow for terminal differentiation and maturation.
This method describes the generation of organotypic cerebellar cultures and the effect of certain apoptotic stimuli on the viability of different cerebellar cell types.
Adult-born neurons expressing ChR2 can be manipulated in slice electrophysiological preparations in order to examine their contribution towards the function of olfactory neural circuits.
Laser Capture Microdissection of Enriched Populations of Neurons or Single Neurons for Gene Expression Analysis After Traumatic Brain Injury
We describe how to use laser capture microdissection (LCM) to obtain enriched populations of hippocampal neurons or single neurons from frozen sections of the injured rat brain for subsequent gene expression analysis using quantitative real time PCR and/or whole-genome microarrays.
1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 2Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Primary, human fetal brain-derived, multipotential progenitor cells proliferate in vitro while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. This work shows that neural progenitors can be induced to differentiate through stages of the oligodendrocytic lineage by conditioning with select growth factors.
Selective Viral Transduction of Adult-born Olfactory Neurons for Chronic in vivo Optogenetic Stimulation
Adult-born neurons of the olfactory bulb can be optogenetically controlled using Channelrhodopsin2-expressing lentiviral injection in the rostral migratory stream and chronic photostimulation with an implanted miniature LED.
1Department of Neurosurgery, The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, San Francisco - UCSF, 2Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 3Department of Neuroscience and Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 4Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, 5Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
The lateral ventricle walls contain the largest germinal region in the adult mammalian brain. Traditionally, studies on neurogenesis in this region have relied on classical sectioning techniques for histological analysis. Here we present an alternative approach, the wholemount technique, which provides a comprehensive, en-face view of this germinal region.
In this protocol, we describe the direct cytoplasmic microinjection of cytochrome c protein into fibroblasts and primary sympathetic neurons. This technique allows for the introduction of cytochrome c protein into the cytoplasm of cells and mimics the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, which occurs during apoptosis.
Mosaic Analysis of Gene Function in Postnatal Mouse Brain Development by Using Virus-based Cre Recombination
1Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California, 3Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
An in vivo method to test gene function in postnatal brain is described. Recombinant AAVs expressing Cre and/or a fluorescent protein are injected into neonatal mouse brain. Mosaic gene inactivation and sparse neuronal labeling are achieved, allowing rapid analysis of gene function in processes critical to neural circuit development.
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary, 2Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
In utero electroporation allows for rapid gene delivery in a spatially- and temporally-controlled manner in the developing central nervous system (CNS). Here we describe a highly adaptable in utero electroporation protocol that can be used to deliver expression constructs into multiple embryonic CNS domains, including the telencephalon, diencephalon and retina.
We use the patch-clamp technique to measure GABA-activated single-channel currents (GABAA channels, GABAA receptors) and the synaptic and tonic currents they generate in neurons. Activation of the channels decreases neuronal excitability in health and disease 1,2,3,4.
The Neuroblast Assay: An Assay for the Generation and Enrichment of Neuronal Progenitor Cells from Differentiating Neural Stem Cell Progeny Using Flow Cytometry
This video protocol demonstrates a novel method for the generation and subsequent purification of neuronal progenitor cells from a renewable source of neural stem cells (NSCs) based on their physical (size and internal granularity) and fluorescent properties using flow cytometry technology.
1Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, 2Department of Neurology, University of Washington, 3Division of Genetics, Departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and the Institute for Genomic Medicine, University of California, San Diego - Rady Children’s Hospital
We describe a protocol for the rapid and sensitive quantification of disease severity in mouse models of cerebellar ataxia. Measures include hind limb clasping, ledge test, gait and kyphosis. This protocol effectively discriminates between affected and non-affected individuals, and detects the progression of affected individuals over time.
Expansion of Embryonic and Adult Neural Stem Cells by In Utero Electroporation or Viral Stereotaxic Injection
Controlling the expansion of somatic stem cells is a major factor hampering their study and use in therapy. Here we describe a system to temporally control neural stem cells expansion during development and adulthood, which can be used to increase the number of neurons generated in the mouse brain.
We provide a practical guide for delivering tracers in vivo and use the spinocerebellar pathway as a model system to demonstrate essential steps for successful neuronal circuit analysis in mice. We describe in detail our versatile tracing protocol that exploits wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) conjugated to Alexa fluorophores.
There are many available options for management of the patient with trigeminal neuralgia. Microvascular decompression, while the most invasive of all options, is also the most effective at achieving long term remission of symptoms. Video instruction on how to maximize efficacy and minimize complications with this procedure is described.
In ovo Electroporation in Chick Midbrain for Studying Gene Function in Dopaminergic Neuron Development
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Chicago Research Center, 2Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology and Physiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
To assess the function and the regulation of genes during the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, we describe a method that involves in ovo electroporation of plasmid DNA constructs into embryonic chick ventral midbrain dopaminergic neuron progenitors. This technique can be used to achieve efficient expression of genes of interest to study different aspects of midbrain development and dopaminergic neuron differentiation.
Electroporation of the Hindbrain to Trace Axonal Trajectories and Synaptic Targets in the Chick Embryo
How neuronal networks are established in the embryonic brain is a fundamental question in developmental neurobiology. Here we combined an electroporation technique with novel genetic tools, such as Cre/Lox–plasmids and PiggyBac-mediated DNA transposition system in the avian hindbrain to label dorsal interneurons and track their axonal projections and synaptic targets at various developmental stages.
A protocols for an embryonic rat brain aggregate culture system is described. Multipotent progenitors in the aggregates can develop and differentiate into neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
A Low Mortality Rat Model to Assess Delayed Cerebral Vasospasm After Experimental Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is bleeding that occurs into the subarachnoid space when an aneurysm ruptures. While the morbidity and mortality from this event has been on a decline due to improved treatment approaches, the risk of vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage continues to be the same as it was several years ago. The importance of establishing a comprehensive and reproducible animal model to identify initiating events of cerebral vasospasm has been the focus of research since the first use of rats in an experimental vasospasm model in 1979 by Barry et al. Early work in rats demonstrated that a single injection of autologous blood into the cisterna magna led to acute (within minutes) but not delayed cerebral vasospasm 3, 6, 14. Here we characterize a low mortality SAH rat model that results in reproducible delayed vasospasm.
Dorsal Column Steerability with Dual Parallel Leads using Dedicated Power Sources: A Computational Model
Using a mathematical model of spinal cord stimulation, we found that a multi-source system with independent power sources for each contact can target more central points of stimulation on the dorsal column (100 vs 3) and has 50-fold more field steering resolution (0.02mm vs 1mm) than a single-source system.
A way to study the integration of newborn dentate granule cells in adult animals is described. This technique uses an engineered retrovirus to label newborn neurons, followed by electrophysiological recordings to determine in vivo functional integration.
1Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, 2Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
Neural circuits are topographically organized into functional compartments with specific molecular profiles. Here, we provide the practical and technical steps for revealing global brain topography using a versatile wholemount immunohistochemical staining approach. We demonstrate the utility of the method using the well-understood cytoarchitecture and circuitry of cerebellum.
Cell transplantation is an essential technique for studying tissue regeneration and for developing cell-based therapies of disease. We demonstrate here a microsurgical technique that permits the transplantation of genetically labeled cells directly into the kidney of adult zebrafish fish.
An Optimized Procedure for Fluorescence-activated Cell Sorting (FACS) Isolation of Autonomic Neural Progenitors from Visceral Organs of Fetal Mice
An optimized procedure to purify neural crest-derived neuronal progenitors from fetal mouse tissues is described. This method takes advantage of expression from fluorescent reporter alleles to isolate discrete populations by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The technique can be applied to isolate neuronal subpopulations throughout development or from adult tissues.
Derivation of neuroepithelial precursors from embryonic stem (ES) cells using stromal cell-derived inducing activity (SDIA).
We demonstrate a minimally invasive technique referred to as neonatal subventricular zone electroporation. The technique consists of injecting plasmid DNA into the lateral ventricles of neonatal pups and applying electrical current to deliver and genetically manipulate neural stem cells
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) are an important innate immune mechanism to fight pathogenic bacteria, fungi and parasites. Here we describe methods to isolate neutrophil granulocytes from human blood and to activate them to form NETs. We present preparation techniques to visualize NETs in light and electron microscopy.
Video-oculography is a very quantitative method to investigate ocular motor performance as well as motor learning. Here, we describe how to measure video-oculography in mice. Applying this technique on normal, pharmacologically-treated or genetically modified mice is a powerful research tool to explore the underlying physiology of motor behaviors.
1Division of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2Neuroscience Graduate Group, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
A multi-faceted approach to investigating functional changes to hippocampal circuitry is explained. Electrophysiological techniques are described along with the injury protocol, behavioral testing and regional dissection method. The combination of these techniques can be applied in similar fashion for other brain regions and scientific questions.
The generation of aligned myocardial tissue is a key requirement for adapting the recent advances in stem cell biology to clinically useful purposes. Herein we describe a microcontact printing approach for the precise control of cell shape and function. Using highly purified populations of embryonic stem cell derived cardiac progenitors, we then generate anisotropic functional myocardial tissue.
Micromanipulation of Gene Expression in the Adult Zebrafish Brain Using Cerebroventricular Microinjection of Morpholino Oligonucleotides
In this article, we demonstrate a method for manipulation of gene expression in the ventricular cells of the adult zebrafish telencephalon using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides. We present this method as an efficient and quick protocol that can be used for functional studies in the adult vertebrate brain.
Method for the enzymatic dissociation, surface labeling and purification by flow cytometry of fibro/adipogenic and myogenic progenitors from murine skeletal muscle.
Methods for Study of Neuronal Morphogenesis: Ex vivo RNAi Electroporation in Embryonic Murine Cerebral Cortex
1Department of Molecular, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, 2Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, 3Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University
To conduct a rapid assessment of the function of genes in the development of cerebral cortex, we describe methods involving the ex vivo electroporation of plasmids co-expressing inhibitory RNA (RNAi) and GFP in murine embryonic cortex. This protocol is amenable to the study of various aspects of neurodevelopment such as neurogenesis, neuronal migration and neuronal morphogenesis including dendrite and axon outgrowth.
Single-cell electroporation (SCE) is a specialized technique allowing delivery of DNA or other macromolecules into individual cells within intact tissue, including in vivo preparations. Here we detail the procedure for SCE of a fluorescent dye or plasmid DNA into neurons within the intact brain of the Xenopus laevis tadpole.
1Dept. of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, 2Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 3Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles
Primary cultures of Aplysia sensory-motor neurons provide a model preparation for studying synapse formation and synaptic plasticity in vitro. This video demonstrates the identification and microdissection of sensory and motor neurons from Aplysia ganglia as well as the methods for establishing and maintaining sensory-motor neurons in culture.
Understanding the function of the vertebrate central nervous system requires recordings from many neurons because cortical function arises on the level of populations of neurons. Here we describe an optical method to record suprathreshold neural activity with single-cell and single-spike resolution, dithered random-access scanning. This method records somatic fluorescence calcium signals from up to 100 neurons with high temporal resolution. A maximum-likelihood algorithm deconvolves the underlying suprathreshold neural activity from the somatic fluorescence calcium signals. This method reliably detects spikes with high detection efficiency and a low rate of false positives and can be used to study neural populations in vitro and in vivo.
Imaging Analysis of Neuron to Glia Interaction in Microfluidic Culture Platform (MCP)-based Neuronal Axon and Glia Co-culture System
This study describes the procedures of setting up a novel neuronal axon and (astro)glia co-culture platform. In this co-culture system, manipulation of direct interaction between a single axon (and single glial cell) becomes feasible, allowing mechanistic analysis of the mutual neuron to glial signaling.
We describe a rapid methodology to isolate and culture hippocampal and cortical neurons from rodent embryos. This protocol allows us to perform experiments in which nearly pure neuronal cultures are required.
FMRI and physiological monitoring is used to study the effects of Acupuncture on the central and peripheral nervous systems. Acupuncture mobilizes a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network, with great overlap with the default mode network, to modulate neurological activity, possibly related to its autonomic effect in the peripheral nervous system.
Slice cultures facilitate the manipulation of embryo development by gene and pharmacological perturbations. However, culture conditions must ensure that normal development can proceed within the reduced environment of the slice. We illustrate a protocol that facilitates normal spinal cord development to proceed for at least 24 hr.
A standard approach to prepare adult Drosophila eyes for semi-thin sectioning and light microscopic analysis is presented here. The protocol can be used for gross morphological analysis of eye defects, or with the indicated adjustments can be used to determine genetic requirements of genes in specific cell types of the eye (e.g. clonal analysis of photoreceptors) or for electron microscopic analysis.