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.
Micro-dissection of rat brain into various regions is extremely important for the study of different neurodegenerative diseases. This video demonstrates micro-dissection of four major brain regions include olfactory bulb, frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus in fresh rat brain tissue. Useful tips for quick removal of respective regions to avoid RNA and protein degradation of the tissue are given.
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.
1Department of Psychiatry, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, 2Department of Gene and Protein Biomarkers, GenProMarkers, Inc.
We describe a rat model of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that reveals the persistent alterations in neuroendocrine function and the delayed long-term, exaggerated fear response, characteristic of PTSD patients. The animal model and methods described here are useful for correlating biomarkers in brain nuclei, which are mechanistic but cannot be measured in patients, with biomarkers in peripheral white blood cells, which can.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preparation of Parasagittal Slices for the Investigation of Dorsal-ventral Organization of the Rodent Medial Entorhinal Cortex
We describe procedures for preparation and electrophysiological recording from brain slices that maintain the dorsal-ventral axis of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC). Because neural encoding of location follows a dorsal-ventral organization within the MEC, these procedures facilitate investigation of cellular mechanisms important for navigation and memory.
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.
The intraluminal middle cerebral occlusion model in mice is herein presented. The extent of cerebral infarct is evaluated by a neurologic score and cresyl violet staining, an alternative staining to TTC, offering the great advantage to test in parallel many interest markers.
In this protocol we demonstrate how to fabricate a micro-drive array for chronic electrophysiological recordings in rats.
Modeling Neural Immune Signaling of Episodic and Chronic Migraine Using Spreading Depression In Vitro
Migraine and its transformation to chronic migraine are immense healthcare burdens in need of improved treatment options. We seek to define how neural immune signaling modulates the susceptibility to migraine, modeled in vitro using spreading depression in hippocampal slice cultures, as a means to develop novel therapeutic targets.
Modulation of hippocampally-dependent spatial working memory by direct intrahippocampal microinjection, accompanied and followed by in vivo microdialysis for metabolites in conscious, behaving animals.
Multiphoton microscopy of whole mouse organs is possible by optically clearing the organ before imaging, but not all protocols preserve the fluorescent signal of fluorescent proteins. Using an optical clearing method with ethanol-based dehydration and benzyl alcohol:benzyl benzoate clearing, we show high-resolution multiphoton images of whole mouse brain expressing YFP.
Spectral Confocal Imaging of Fluorescently tagged Nicotinic Receptors in Knock-in Mice with Chronic Nicotine Administration
We have developed a novel technique of quantifying nicotinic acetylcholine receptor changes within subcellular regions of specific subtypes of CNS neurons to better understand the mechanisms of nicotine addiction by using a combination of approaches including fluorescent protein tagging of the receptor using the knock-in approach and spectral confocal imaging.
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.
We established mouse models of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), the predominant brain injury in premature infants characterized by periventricular white matter lesions. Hypoxia/ischemia with/without systemic infection are the primary causes of PVL. Unilateral carotid ligation and hypoxia exposure with/without lipopolysaccharide injection creates PVL-like lesions in P6 mice.
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.
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.
Brain banking and systematic sampling of biological material provides the basis for unbiased stereology and maximizes the potential data obtained from each specimen.
We describe a protocol for transcardiac perfusion of mice, removal and sectioning of the brain, as well as immunoperoxidase staining, resin embedding, and ultrathin sectioning of the brain sections. Upon completion of these procedures, the immunostained material is ready for examination with transmission electron microscopy.
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.
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.
A Visual Description of the Dissection of the Cerebral Surface Vasculature and Associated Meninges and the Choroid Plexus from Rat Brain
1Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, 2Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine, National Center for Toxicological Research, 3Office of Planning, Finance, and Information Technology, National Center for Toxicological Research
This video presentation shows a method of harvesting the two most important highly vascular structures that support forebrain function. They are the cerebral surface (superficial) vasculature along with associated meninges (MAV) and the choroid plexus which are necessary for cerebral blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) homeostasis.
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.
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
A methodology to investigate the neural mechanisms that support aware and unaware memory processes during fear conditioning is described. This method monitors blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging, skin conductance response, and unconditioned stimulus expectancy during Pavlovian fear conditioning to assess the neural correlates of distinct memory processes.
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.
The Morris water maze is a well-accepted tool used to document the involvement of the hippocampus in a behavioral task.
Cognitive impairment resulting from the radiotherapeutic management of brain tumors represents a clinically intractable condition that adversely impacts quality of life. The capability to critically evaluate potential interventions for ameliorating radiation-induced cognitive decrements ultimately depends on the capability to undertake rigorous quantitative assessments of cognition.
Construction and Implantation of a Microinfusion System for Sustained Delivery of Neuroactive Agents.
As neuroscience inquiry becomes more sophisticated, investigation of brain structures and circuitry requires improved levels of accuracy and higher resolution. We have developed a method for the preparation and implantation of a chronic infusion system within the brain utilizing a borosilicate microcannula with a tip diameter of 50 microns.
Non-Laser Capture Microscopy Approach for the Microdissection of Discrete Mouse Brain Regions for Total RNA Isolation and Downstream Next-Generation Sequencing and Gene Expression Profiling
RNA expression profiling of discrete mouse brain regions requires a precise and repeatable tissue collection strategy. A protocol that uses both coronal brain sectioning and tissue corer-assisted microdissection is described here. The yield and quality of total RNA obtained from the resulting samples confirms the utility of the outlined method.
Visualization of Mitochondrial Respiratory Function using Cytochrome C Oxidase / Succinate Dehydrogenase (COX/SDH) Double-labeling Histochemistry
The cytochrome c oxidase/sodium dehydrogenase (COX/SDH) double-labeling method allows for direct visualization of mitochondrial respiratory enzyme deficiencies in fresh-frozen tissue sections. This is a straightforward histochemical technique and is useful in investigating mitochondrial diseases, aging, and aging-related disorders.
Responding for food or drug-paired cues increases over the course of a period of abstinence and this may relate to an increased susceptibility to relapse behaviors. Here we detail a procedure for evaluating this "incubation of craving" in rats that have self-administered sucrose.
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.
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.
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.
1Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, 2Center for Developmental and Health Genetics, Pennsylvania State University, 3Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 4Huck Institute of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 5California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 6Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles
The Lashley III maze is a route-learning task that does not rely on aversive stimuli or visual cues. It is thus a highly attractive option for evaluating learning and memory, especially in aging mice or otherwise where stress is a consideration.
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.
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.
Burrowing, nesting, and hoarding are species-typical activities that mice readily perform in the laboratory. This article describes how they can be easily and cheaply assessed. These protocols are extremely sensitive to mouse strain, brain lesions and diseases. Moreover they constitute “environmental enrichment” for the mice, and embody the “Refinement” aspect of the “3 Rs”18.
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.
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 Psychiatry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 2Psychology Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 3Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 4Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
We present a protocol that allows investigation of the neural correlates of recollecting emotional autobiographical memories, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. This protocol can be used with both healthy and clinical participants.
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.
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.