Stem Cell Transplantation Strategies for the Restoration of Cognitive Dysfunction Caused by Cranial Radiotherapy
Brain tumor patients routinely undergo cranial radiotherapy, and while beneficial, this treatment often results in debilitating cognitive dysfunction. This serious unresolved problem has at present, no clinical recourse, and has driven our efforts to devise stem cell based therapies for the recovery of radiation-induced cognitive decrements.
A Video Demonstration of Preserved Piloting by Scent Tracking but Impaired Dead Reckoning After Fimbria-Fornix Lesions in the Rat
In a piloting scent tracking task, the ability of the rats to return to a refuge with food using visual an odor trail or using dead reckoning in infrared light, the integrated record of previous movements, demonstrates that the hippocampus is necessary for dead reckoning.
We describe a method to prepare organotypic hippocampal slices that can be easily adapted to other brain regions. Brain slices are laid on porous membranes and culture media is allowed to form an interface. This method preserves the gross architecture of the hippocampus for up to 2 weeks in culture.
Using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to measure electrically evoked presynaptic dopamine dynamics in striatal brain slices.
One of the pathological characteristics of AD is the formation of Amyloid β protein positive neuritic plaques. In this protocol we describe two methods to detect neuritic plaques in transgenic AD model mice: immunohistochemical detection using the ABC and DAB method and fluorescent detection using thioflavin S staining method.
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 Morris Water Maze is a behavioral task to test hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. It has been widely used in the study of neurobiology, neuropharmacology and neurocognitive disorders in rodent models.
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.
1Neural Regeneration Laboratory and Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, 2Carleton Immersive Media Studio, Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University
Here, we describe how to produce, expand, and immunolabel postnatal hippocampal neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in three-dimensional (3D) culture. Next, using hybrid visualization technologies, we demonstrate how digital images of immunolabelled cryosections can be used to reconstruct and map the spatial position of immunopositive cells throughout the entire 3D neurosphere.
The localization and distribution of proteins provide important information for understanding their cellular functions. The superior spatial resolution of electron microscopy (EM) can be used to determine the subcellular localization of a given antigen following immunohistochemistry. For tissues of the central nervous system (CNS), preserving structural integrity while maintaining antigenicity has been especially difficult in EM studies. Here, we adopt a procedure that has been used to preserve structures and antigens in the CNS to study and characterize synaptic proteins in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formed from long chain alkane thiols on gold provide well-defined substrates for the formation of protein patterns and cell confinement. Microcontact printing of hexadecanethiol using a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamp followed by backfilling with a glycol-terminated alkane thiol monomer produces a pattern where protein and cells adsorb only to the stamped hexadecanethiol region.
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.
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.
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.
This protocol details how to quantify synapse number both in dissociated neuronal culture and in brain sections using immunocytochemistry. Using compartment-specific antibodies, we label presynaptic terminals as well as sites of postsynaptic specialization. We define synapses as points of colocalization between the signals generated by these markers.
1Japan Science and Technology Agency, Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology (CREST), 2Division of Systems Medical Science, Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University, 3Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 4Genetic Engineering and Functional Genomics Group, Horizontal Medical Research Organization, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 5Center for Genetic Analysis of Behavior, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
A dissection technique for removal of the dentate gyrus from adult mouse under a stereomicroscope was demonstrated in this video-recorded protocol.
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.
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.
Measurement of Tension Release During Laser Induced Axon Lesion to Evaluate Axonal Adhesion to the Substrate at Piconewton and Millisecond Resolution
1Institute of Biophysics, National Research Council of Italy, 2Dipartimento di Sistemi e Informatica, Università di Firenze, 3Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
We measured the tension release in an axon that was partially lesioned with a laser dissector by simultaneous force spectroscopy measurement performed on an optically-trapped probe adhered to the membrane of the axon. The developed experimental protocol evaluates the axon adhesion to the culture substrate.
1Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, 3Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center
Lateral fluid percussion (LFP), an established model of traumatic brain injury in mice, is demonstrated. LFP fulfills three major criteria for animal models: validity, reliability and clinical relevance. The procedure, consisting of surgical craniotomy, fixation of hub followed by induction of injury, resulting in focal and diffuse injuries, is described.
Preparation of Synaptoneurosomes from Mouse Cortex using a Discontinuous Percoll-Sucrose Density Gradient
1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin, 2Department of Biochemistry, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin
A method to prepare translationally active, intact synaptoneurosomes (SNs) from mouse brain cortex is described. The method uses a discontinuous Percoll-sucrose density gradient allowing for the quick preparation of active SNs.
The dissection and growth of cells from an individual brain area facilitates investigation of cellular and physiological parameters. We describe a method for primary cell culturing that produces neuron-enriched cultures in a serum-free environment.
We describe how to measure near membrane and global intracellular calcium dynamics in cultured astrocytes using total internal reflection and epifluorescence microscopy.
The organoptypic hippocampal slice culture model is an in vitro model used to examine neuronal injury in a variety of paradigms. In this article, we describe the methods for generating slice cultures and quantifying neuronal injury.
Modulation of hippocampally-dependent spatial working memory by direct intrahippocampal microinjection, accompanied and followed by in vivo microdialysis for metabolites in conscious, behaving animals.
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.
Preparation of Oligomeric β-amyloid1-42 and Induction of Synaptic Plasticity Impairment on Hippocampal Slices
One feature of Alzheimer's Disease is the elevation of Aβ1-42 peptide. Here we provide a protocol for preparing synthetic Aβ1-42 oligomers, which impairs hippocampal Long-Term Potentiation, a cellular correlate of memory. This procedure is useful for investigating mechanisms of Aβ-induced pathology and drug screening.
We provide a protocol for the culture of highly purified hippocampal neurons from prenatal mouse brains without the use of a feeder glial cell layer.
Vibrodissociation of Neurons from Rodent Brain Slices to Study Synaptic Transmission and Image Presynaptic Terminals
1Section on Synaptic Pharmacology/Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2Department of Electronics Engineering, Ewha Womans University, 3Section on Transmitter Signaling/Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
This report demonstrates a technique for mechanical isolation of individual viable neurons retaining attached presynaptic boutons. Vibrodissociated neurons have the advantages of rapid production, excellent pharmacological control and improved space-clamp without influence from neighboring cells. This method can be used for imaging of synaptic elements and patch-clamp recording.
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.
This article describes a novel protocol and reagent set designed for sensitive measurement of neurotoxic effects of compounds and treatments on co-cultures of neurons and astrocytes using high content analysis. Results demonstrate that high content analysis represents an exciting novel technology for neurotoxicity assessment.
The Morris water maze is a well-accepted tool used to document the involvement of the hippocampus in a behavioral task.
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.
Mice can swim, but many strains appear to find this activity stressful. To overcome this problem mazes have been devised where escape from shallow water is used to motivate behaviour. These have been demonstrated to support learning at least as good as the traditional and widely used Morris water maze.
Mice and rats, due to their innate cautiousness, are initially slow in consuming a novel food, particularly in a novel place. This hyponeophagia can readily be measured in the laboratory, even though laboratory animals are much less anxious than their wild counterparts
By tagging the extracellular domains of membrane receptors with superecliptic pHluorin, and by imaging these fusion receptors in cultured mouse neurons, we can directly visualize individual vesicular insertion events of the receptors to the plasma membrane. This technique will be instrumental in elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing receptor insertion to the plasma membrane.
The plus-maze measures anxiety-like behaviour in rodents. There are two opposite closed and two opposite open arms; anxious rodents avoid the open arms. The central area is neither completely open nor closed, so time spent here is ambiguous and difficult to interpret. Here a modification of the plus-maze protocol eliminating this area is described.
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.
Calmodulin (CaM) pull-down assay is an effective way to investigate the interaction of CaM with various proteins. This method uses CaM-sepharose beads for efficient and specific analysis of CaM-binding proteins. This provides an important tool to explore CaM signaling in cellular function.
Dual Electrophysiological Recordings of Synaptically-evoked Astroglial and Neuronal Responses in Acute Hippocampal Slices
The preparation of acute brain slices from isolated hippocampi, as well as the simultaneous electrophysiological recordings of astrocytes and neurons in stratum radiatum during stimulation of schaffer collaterals is described. The pharmacological isolation of astroglial potassium and glutamate transporter currents is demonstrated.
Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) of Fluorescence Tagged Proteins in Dendritic Spines of Cultured Hippocampal Neurons
FRAP has been used to quantify the mobility of Green Fluorescence Protein (GFP)-tagged proteins in cultured cells. We examined the mobile/immobile fractions of the GFP by analyzing the fluorescence recovery percentage after photobleaching. In this study, FRAP was performed at spines of hippocampal neurons.
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.
We describe a method for preparing DNA coated gold bullets and demonstrate the use of such bullets to biolistically transfect neurons in cultured hippocampal slices.
Neuromodulation and Mitochondrial Transport: Live Imaging in Hippocampal Neurons over Long Durations
We describe a protocol that allows imaging of mitochondria in living neurons via fluorescence microscopy over long durations. Imaging over extended periods is accomplished through lentivirus-mediated expression of a mitochondrially targeted fluorescent protein and use of an inexpensive stage-top incubator that was designed and built in our laboratory.
We seek to define the neural immune signaling responsible for cold-preconditioning as means to identify novel targets for therapeutics development to protect brain before injury onset. We present strategies for such work that require biological systems, experimental manipulations plus technical capacities that are highly reproducible and sensitive.
Design and Construction of a Cost Effective Headstage for Simultaneous Neural Stimulation and Recording in the Water Maze
We present a low-cost method to design and construct a light headstage pre-amplifier system with simultaneous neural recording and stimulation capability. This device can be waterproofed for use in swimming animals.
1Alaska Basic Neuroscience Program, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, 2Department Biochemistry, Hood College, 3Department of Cell Biology, Neuronascent, Inc., 4Research and Development, Neuronascent, Inc.
Neural stem cells were prepared from the hippocampus of adult non-hibernating yearling Arctic ground squirrels (AGS). These neural stem cells can be expanded through numerous passages, differentiated and maintained as a nearly 50:50 neuron to glial culture.
Lateral Diffusion and Exocytosis of Membrane Proteins in Cultured Neurons Assessed using Fluorescence Recovery and Fluorescence-loss Photobleaching
This report describes the use of live cell imaging and photobleach techniques to determine the surface expression, transport pathways and trafficking kinetics of exogenously expressed, pH-sensitive GFP-tagged proteins at the plasma membrane of neurons.
Protocols are presented for two established motor coordination tasks, the accelerating rotarod and horizontal bar, also two tests developed in Oxford recently, the static rods and parallel bars. These tests can detect motor impairments potentially of interest in their own right, as well as being possible variables in tests of other areas of behavior.
Deficits in muscular strength occur in many clinical conditions such as motor neuron disease. The inverted screen and weight lifting tests described here measure strength in mice almost exclusively, with minimal influence of factors such as coordination.