Determination of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential and Reactive Oxygen Species in Live Rat Cortical Neurons
We demonstrate application of the fluorescence indicator, TMRM, in cortical neurons to determine the relative changes in TMRM fluorescence intensity before and after application of a specific stimulus. We also show application of the fluorescence probe H2DCF-DA to assess the relative level of reactive oxygen species in cortical neurons.
Numerous recent studies have identified mutations in synaptic proteins associated with brain pathologies. Primary cultured cortical neurons offer great flexibility in examining the effects of these disease-associated proteins on dendritic spine morphology and motility.
Ex utero Electroporation and Whole Hemisphere Explants: A Simple Experimental Method for Studies of Early Cortical Development
This protocol describes an improved explant procedure that involves ex utero electroporation, dissection and culture of entire cerebral hemispheres from the embryonic mouse. The preparation facilitates pharmacological studies and assays of gene function during early cortical development.
1Unit on Neural Circuits and Adaptive Behaviors, Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, National Institute of Mental Health, 2Department of Neuroscience, Brown University - National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program, 3Section on Synaptic Pharmacology, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 4Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown
Experience-dependent molecular changes in neurons are essential for the brain's ability to adapt in response to behavioral challenges. An in vivo two-photon imaging method is described here that allows the tracking of such molecular changes in individual cortical neurons through genetically encoded reporters.
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.
Voltage-sensitive Dye Recording from Axons, Dendrites and Dendritic Spines of Individual Neurons in Brain Slices
An imaging technique for monitoring of membrane potential changes with sub-micrometer spatial and sub-millisecond temporal resolution is described. The technique, based on laser excitation of voltage-sensitive dyes, allows measurements of signals in axons and axon collaterals, terminal dendritic branches, and individual dendritic spines.
Here we provide a protocol for culturing rat cortical neurons in the presence of a glial feeder layer. The cultured neurons establish polarity and create synapses, and can be separated from the glia for use in various applications, such as electrophysiology, calcium imaging, cell survival assays, immunocytochemistry, and RNA/DNA/protein isolation.
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.
1Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, 2Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Laboratory for Neuroengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory, University School of Medicine, 3Emory University School of Medicine
This protocol provides the necessary information for setting up, caring for, recording from and electrically stimulating cultures on MEAs. In vitro networks provide a means for asking physiologically relevant questions at the network and cellular levels leading to a better understanding of brain function and dysfunction.
This paper introduces an approach of combining laser scanning photostimulation with whole cell recordings in transgenic mice expressing GFP in limited inhibitory neuron populations. The technique allows for extensive mapping and quantitative analysis of local synaptic circuits of specific inhibitory cortical neurons.
This is a protocol to prepare and maintain a neocortical slice preparation in organotypic culture for the purpose of making electrical recordings from pyramidal neurons.
Targeted Labeling of Neurons in a Specific Functional Micro-domain of the Neocortex by Combining Intrinsic Signal and Two-photon Imaging
A method is described for labeling neurons with fluorescent dyes in predetermined functional micro-domains of the neocortex. First, intrinsic signal optical imaging is used to obtain a functional map. Then two-photon microscopy is used to label and image neurons within a micro-domain of the map.
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine (UCI), 2Stem Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine (UCI), 3Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine (UCI)
In this video we demonstrate the preparation of E18 Cortical Rat Neurons.
Calcium signals play a key role in many cellular processes including gene expression, survival and differentiation. Here we demonstrate how to perform calcium imaging using Fura-2 AM. Calcium imaging is a valuable tool to study the regulation of intracellular calcium in real time and its regulation of signaling cascades.
This protocol outlines the steps required to dissect, transfect via electroporation and culture mouse hippocampal and cortical neurons. Short-term cultures may be used for studies of axon outgrowth and guidance, while long-term cultures can be used for studies of synaptogenesis and dendritic spine analysis.
Right-angle microprisms inserted into the mouse neocortex allows for deep imaging of multiple cortical layers with a viewpoint typically found in slice. One-millimeter microprisms offer a wide field-of-view (~900 μm) and spatial resolutions sufficient to resolve dendritic spines. We demonstrate layer V neuronal imaging and neocortical vascular imaging using microprisms.
Here, we describe a method for efficient cryopreservation and thawing of cortical brain tissue blocks to generate highly enriched neuronal cultures. This simple protocol provides flexibility for later generation of neuronal, astrocyte, and neuronal precursor cell cultures.
In this protocol we demonstrate how to fabricate a micro-drive array for chronic electrophysiological recordings in rats.
Here we describe the technique of preparing and maintaining compartmented chambers for culturing sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia.
Here we describe a method for mounting zebrafish embryos for long-term imaging, two-photon imaging and tissue-damage techniques, and time-lapse confocal imaging.
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 Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University, 2Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 3School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, 4Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, Johns Hopkins University
Electrophysiological characterization of neuronal responses is important for understanding brain function and for guiding the placement of dyes for pathway tracing. However, many studies are performed in anesthetized animals. To understand brain function without anesthetics, we developed a method to record neuronal response properties and inject dyes in awake mouse.
Detection of Protein Palmitoylation in Cultured Hippocampal Neurons by Immunoprecipitation and Acyl-Biotin Exchange (ABE)
The reversible addition of palmitate to proteins is an important regulator of intracellular protein trafficking. This is of particular interest in neurons where many synaptic proteins are palmitoylated. We utilize a simple biochemical method to detect palmitoylated proteins in cultured neurons, which can be adapted for multiple cell types and tissues.
1Department of Physics, University of California, San Diego, 2Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Pennsylvania State University, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University, 4Section of Neurobiology, University of California, San Diego
We present a method to form an imaging window in the mouse skull that spans millimeters and is stable for months without inflammation of the brain. This method is well suited for longitudinal studies of blood flow, cellular dynamics, and cell/vascular structure using two-photon microscopy.
Organotypic Slice Cultures of Embryonic Ventral Midbrain: A System to Study Dopaminergic Neuronal Development in vitro
A method to generate organotypic slices from the E12.5 murine embryonic midbrain is described. The organotypic slice cultures can be used to observe the behavior of dopaminergic neurons or other ventral midbrain neurons.
Dissection and Culture of Mouse Dopaminergic and Striatal Explants in Three-Dimensional Collagen Matrix Assays
Explants from the midbrain dopamine system and striatum are used in a collagen matrix assay for the in vitro analysis of mesostriatal and striatonigral pathway development. In this assay axonal outgrowth and guidance can be manipulated and quantified. It can also be modified for assessing other regions or molecular cues.
The anatomical organization of the primate brain can provide important insights into normal and pathological conditions in humans. Unbiased stereology is a method for accurately and efficiently estimating the total neuron number (or other cell type) in a given reference space1.
In utero Electroporation followed by Primary Neuronal Culture for Studying Gene Function in Subset of Cortical Neurons
In utero electroporation is a valuable method for transfecting neuronal progenitor cells in vivo. Depending upon the placement of the electrodes and the developmental timepoint of electroporation, certain subsets of cortical cells can be targeted. Targeted cells can then be analyzed in vivo or in vitro for effects of genetic alteration.
1Institute for Microstructural Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, 2Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, 3Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
We show how planar patch-clamp chips fabricated at the National Research Council of Canada are sterilized, primed, loaded with medium, plated with cells, and used for electrophysiological recordings.
1Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 2Precisionary Instruments Inc., 3Departments of Molecular & Human Genetics and Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 4Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital
Here we describe a rapid and simple method to image fluorescently labeled cells in semi-thick brain slices. By fixing, slicing, and optically clearing brain tissue we describe how standard epifluorescent or confocal imaging can be used to visualize individual cells and neuronal networks within intact nervous tissue.
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.
1Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Johns Hopkins University, 2Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 3University of Maryland, 4Experimental Neurology, Biogen Idec, 5The Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 6Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
This protocol outlines the derivation of Glial Restricted Precursors from fetal spinal cords and maintained in vitro either for transplantation or for the study of oligodendrocytic lineage.
Simultaneous Electroencephalography, Real-time Measurement of Lactate Concentration and Optogenetic Manipulation of Neuronal Activity in the Rodent Cerebral Cortex
A procedure is described for manipulating the activity of cerebral cortical pyramidal neurons optogenetically while the electroencephalogram, electromyogram, and cerebral lactate concentration are monitored. Experimental recordings are performed on cable-tethered mice while they undergo spontaneous sleep/wake cycles. Optogenetic equipment is assembled in our laboratory; recording equipment is commercially available.
1Institute for Clinical Neurobiology, University of Wuerzburg, 2Department of Synapses - Circuits - Plasticity, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, 3Walter Brendel Centre of Experimental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich
Targeted-esterase induced dye loading (TED) supports the analysis of intracellular calcium store dynamics by fluorescence imaging. The method bases on targeting of a recombinant Carboxylesterase to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where it improves the local unmasking of synthetic low-affinity Ca2+ indicator dyes in the ER lumen.
Astrocytes have been recognized to be versatile cells participating in fundamental biological processes that are essential for normal brain development and function, and central nervous system repair. Here we present a rapid procedure to obtain pure mouse astrocyte cultures to study the biology of this major class of central nervous system cells.
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.
The generation, purification and cell invasion of intracellular, cytoplasmic full length DISC1 protein aggresomes from cell cultures and of a labeled, multimeric recombinant DISC1 protein fragment in E. coli are described. Cell invasiveness is shown for recipient cells in cell culture and for neurons in vivo after stereotactical brain inoculation.
This video shows a procedure for generating neuronal cultures from late embryo and early postnatal mouse cortex. These cultures can be used for immunocytochemistry, biochemistry, electrophysiology, calcium and sodium imaging and provide a platform to study the neuronal development of transgenic animals that carry a postnatal lethal gene mutation.
A fundamental issue in our understanding of cortical circuitry is how networks in different cortical layers encode sensory information. Here we describe electrophysiological techniques utilizing multi-contact laminar electrodes to record single-units and local field potentials and present analyses to identify cortical layers.
A gene transfer method into the developing mouse brain is described by using a unique surgical method and special shape of electrodes. This unique technique allows transfection of plasmid DNA temporally and spatially, which will aid many neuroscientists in studying brain development.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive tool to gain insight on the physiology and function of the human nervous system. Here, we present our TMS techniques to study cortical excitability of the upper limb and lumbar musculature.
Preparation of Acute Hippocampal Slices from Rats and Transgenic Mice for the Study of Synaptic Alterations during Aging and Amyloid Pathology
1Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, 2Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 3Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
This article outlines procedures for preparing hippocampal slices from rats and transgenic mice for the study of synaptic alterations associated with brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Extracellular recordings of neuronal activity using silicon probes in the anesthetized rat will be described. This technique allows information to be obtained across multiple brain areas from more than 100 neurons simultaneously. It provides information with single cell resolution about neuronal ensembles dynamics in multiple local circuits.
Spontaneous activity of developing neuronal networks can be measured using AM-ester forms of calcium-sensitive indicator dyes. Changes in intracellular calcium, indicating neuronal activation, are detected as transient changes in indicator fluorescence with one- or two-photon imaging. This protocol can be adapted for a range of developmentally-dependent neuronal networks in vitro.
Here are some highlights from the January 2012 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
1Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 2JoVE Content Production
Here are some highlights from the October 2012 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
1Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, UCLA, 2Basic Medicine School, Fourth Military Medical University, 3Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, 4Aerospace Medicine School, Fourth Military Medical Univeristy
In this protocol, we described a new method to study the influence of glial cell heterogeneity on axon growth with an in vitro co-culture system. Rat cortical glial cells were cultured to confluence and cocultured with highly purified rat dorsal root ganglia neurons. Different glial cell influence on neurons adhesion and axon growth was compared directly in the same culture. This method provides a new way to directly study the glial cell heterogeneity influence on neuron adhesion and axon growth.
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.
Primary dissociated midbrain dopamine cell cultures allow for the study of presynaptic characteristics of dopamine neurons. They can be used to monitor real-time dopamine release kinetics and protein/mRNA levels of regulators of dopamine exocytosis. Here, we show you how to generate these cultures from rodent neonates.