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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Live cell imaging is of particular utility when studying the dynamics of organelle trafficking. Here we describe a protocol for live imaging of dense-core vesicles in cultured neurons using wide-field fluorescence microscopy. This protocol is flexible and can be adapted to image other organelles such as mitochondria, endosomes, and peroxisomes.
1Molecular Biology of Neural Development, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, 2Division of Experimental Medicine and Program in Neuroengineering, McGill University, 3Program in Neuroengineering, McGill University, 4Montreal Neurological Institute, 5Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, 6Department of Biology, McGill University, 7Department of Medicine, Universite de Montreal - University of Montreal
This video demonstrates a method to dissect and culture commissural neurons from E13 rat dorsal spinal cord. Dissociated commissural neurons are useful to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of axon growth and guidance.
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.
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.
1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine, 3Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine
Glutamatergic synapses can switch from an active mode to a silent mode. We demonstrate that presynaptic activity status in dissociated culture of rodent neurons is visualized using a fixable form of the FM1-43 dye to visualize active synapses and immunostaining with vGluT-1 antibody to visualize all glutamate synapses.
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.
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.
We describe how to measure near membrane and global intracellular calcium dynamics in cultured astrocytes using total internal reflection and epifluorescence microscopy.
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.
FM dyes have been of invaluable help in the understanding of synaptic dynamics. FMs are normally followed under the fluorescent microscope during different stimulation conditions. However, photoconversion of FM dyes combined with electron microscopy allows the visualization of distinct synaptic vesicle pools, among other ultrastructure components, in synaptic boutons.
We have developed a computer program to analyze neuronal morphology. In combination with two existing open source analysis tools, our program performs Sholl analysis and determines the number of neurites, branch points, and neurite tips. The analyses are performed so that local changes in neurite morphology can be observed.
Quantitative Assessment of Immune Cells in the Injured Spinal Cord Tissue by Flow Cytometry: a Novel Use for a Cell Purification Method
1Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California, 2Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of California, 3Anatomy & Neurobiology, University of California, 4Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, University of California, 5Section of Molecular Biology, University of California, 6Reeve-Irvine Research Center, University of California
Quantification of cellular inflammation in the injured/pathological CNS by flow cytometry is complicated by lipid/myelin debris that can have similar size and granulation to cells, decreasing sensitivity/accuracy. We have advanced a cell preparation method to remove myelin debris and improve cell detection by flow cytometry in the injured spinal cord.
1School of Dentistry, Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering & Repair, Cardiff University, 2Shandong Qianfoshan Hospital, Shandong University School of Medicine, 3Dermatology and Ophthalmology Research, Institute for Regenerative Cures, University of California at Davis
This protocol demonstrates methods used to establish 2D and 3D environments in custom-designed electrotactic chambers, which can track cells in vivo/ex vivo using time-lapse recording at the single cell level, in order to investigate galvanotaxis/electrotaxis and other cellular responses to direct current (DC) electric fields (EFs).
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.
1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Alabama-Birmingham, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, The Ohio State University Medical School, 3Department of Cell Biology, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, University of Alabama-Birmingham
The comet assay is an efficient way of detecting single- and double-strand breaks, including alkali-labile sites and DNA-DNA/DNA-protein cross-links on the DNA in all cells including hippocampal neurons. The method takes advantage of the differential migration of DNA in an electric field due to differences in amount of DNA damage.
Application and direct measurements of forces on neurons in the 2-1000 microdyne range are achieved with high precision using calibrated glass needles. This methodology can be used to control and measure several aspects of axonal development, including axonal initiation, axonal tension, velocity of axonal elongation, and force vectors.
In this article we describe a simple method for the harvesting of single cells from rat primary neuronal cultures and subsequent transcriptome analysis using aRNA amplification. This approach is generalizable to any cell type.
T-maze Forced Alternation and Left-right Discrimination Tasks for Assessing Working and Reference Memory in Mice
1Division of Systems Medical Science, Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University, 2Japan Science and Technology Agency, Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology (CREST), 3Center for Genetic Analysis of Behavior, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
This article presents the protocol of T-maze tests using a modified automated apparatus for assessing the learning and memory functions in mice.
High efficiency, Site-specific Transfection of Adherent Cells with siRNA Using Microelectrode Arrays (MEA)
The article details the protocol for site-specific transfection of scrambled sequence of siRNA in an adherent mammalian cell culture using a microelectrode array (MEA).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 for preparing DNA coated gold bullets and demonstrate the use of such bullets to biolistically transfect neurons in cultured hippocampal slices.
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.
This video demonstrates the procedure for isolating whole brains from adult Drosophila in preparation for recording from single neurons using standard whole cell technology. It includes images of GFP labeled cells and neurons viewed during recording.
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.
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.