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.
We have developed a video-rate tracking microscope system that can record and quantify C. elegans behavior at high resolution and high speeds. We have also developed computational methods to reduce the dimensionality of the worm images to a fundamental set of measurements that completely describe the shape of the worm.
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.
In animals with large identified neurons (e.g. mollusks), analysis of motor pools is done using intracellular techniques1,2,3,4. Recently, we developed a technique to extracellularly stimulate and record individual neurons in Aplysia californica5. We now describe a protocol for using this technique to uniquely identify and characterize motor neurons within a motor pool.
Surgical Technique for Spinal Cord Delivery of Therapies: Demonstration of Procedure in Gottingen Minipigs
1Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University, 2Department of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina, 3Division of Neurosurgery, University of Alabama, Birmingham, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 5Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University
Short visual description of the surgical technique and device used for the delivery of (gene and cell) therapies into the spinal cord. The technique is demonstrated in the animal but is entirely translatable and currently being used for human application.
We describe a computer-controlled device for investigating the sense of touch: the Tactile Automated Passive-finger Stimulator (TAPS). We describe the components of TAPS, and show how TAPS is used to administer a two-interval forced-choice tactile grating orientation test.
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.
We developed a new protocol to improve efficiency of in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into motor neurons. The differentiated ES cells acquired motor neurons features as evidenced by expression of neuronal and motor neuron markers using immunohistochemical techniques.
Deficits in fine motor coordination can be assessed with the balance beam test. Performance on the beam is quantified by the speed at which the beam is traversed and the number of times the mouse slips on the beam.
As manual dexterity is a prerogative mainly of primates, behavioral tasks have been developed in macaque monkeys. Four reach and grasp prehension tasks, measuring hand manipulation ability and force, allow to establish functional recovery after a lesion of the central nervous system and to test the effect of a treatment.
TMS: Using the Theta-Burst Protocol to Explore Mechasnism of Plasticity in Individuals with Fragile X Syndrome and Autism
In this article, we examine the effects of Theta-Burst TMS stimulation on cortical plasticity in individuals suffering from Fragile X syndrome and individuals on the autistic spectrum.
We describe the design and assembly of miniaturized headphones suitable for replacing a songbird’s natural auditory feedback with a manipulated acoustic signal. Online sound processing hardware is used to manipulate song output, introduce real-time errors in auditory feedback via the headphones, and drive vocal motor learning.
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.
Larval zebrafish represent the first vertebrate model system to allow simultaneous patch clamp recording from a spinal motor-neuron and target skeletal muscle. This video demonstrates the microscopic methods used to identify a segmental CaP motor-neuron and target muscle cells as well as the methodologies for recording from each cell type.
Simultaneous Intracellular Recording of a Lumbar Motoneuron and the Force Produced by its Motor Unit in the Adult Mouse In vivo
This new method permits the simultaneous intracellular recording of a single adult mouse motoneuron and the measurement of the force produced by its muscle fibers. The combined investigation of the electrical and mechanical properties of motor units in normal and genetically modified animals is a breakthrough for the study of the neuromuscular system.
Design and Assembly of an Ultra-light Motorized Microdrive for Chronic Neural Recordings in Small Animals
The design, fabrication and assembly of an ultra-light motorized microdrive is described. The device provides a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution for chronic recordings of single units in small behaving animals.
In this article, we examine the methodology and considerations relevant to the FDA approved depression treatment protocol using the Neuronetics NeuroStar TMS device.
Retraining abnormal movement patterns following injury or disease is a key component of physical rehabilitation. Recent advances in technology have permitted accurate assessment of movement during a variety of tasks, with near instantaneous quantification of results. This provides new opportunities for modification of faulty movement patterns in real time.
An In Vitro Preparation for Eliciting and Recording Feeding Motor Programs with Physiological Movements in Aplysia californica
We describe a technique to extracellularly record and stimulate from nerves, muscles, and individual identified neurons in vitro while eliciting and observing different types of feeding behaviors in the feeding apparatus of Aplysia.
1Department of Orthopaedics, The Warren Alpert Brown Medical School of Brown University and the Rhode Island Hospital, 2Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, VA Medical Center, Providence, RI, 3University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
We designed a novel mechanical loading bioreactor that can apply uniaxial or biaxial mechanical strain to a cartilage biocomposite prior to transplantation into an articular cartilage defect.
1Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 2Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 3Department of Physical Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago
This video demonstrates modulation of reflex activity, volitional strength and ambulation through clinical and quantitative assessments in individuals with motor incomplete SCI as a result of acute oral administration of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
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.
Here are some highlights from the April 2011 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
A mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is examined clinically and behaviorally. As a prerequisite for an accompanying immunohistological analysis the preparation of the spinal cord is depicted in detail.
Here we describe electrophysiological methods for measuring synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction of Drosophila larva. Evoked release is initiated artificially by stimulating the motor neuron axons, and transmission through the NMJ can be measured by the postsynaptic response evoked in the muscle.
A demonstration of the fabrication and use of an extracellular suction electrode used to measure electrophysiological recordings of neonatal rodent spinal cords in vitro
1Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 3Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine
An in vivo animal model of injury is described. The method takes advantage of the subcutaneous position of the fibular nerve. Velocity, timing of muscle activation, and arc of motion are all pre-determined and synchronized using commercial software. Post injury changes are monitored in vivo using MR imaging/spectroscopy.
The ladder rung walking task is a new test to assess skilled walking and measure both forelimb and hindlimb placing, stepping, and inter-limb co-ordination.
1Headache & Orofacial Pain Effort (H.O.P.E.), Biologic & Material Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, 2Laboratory of Neuromodulation, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 3Charité, University Medicine Berlin, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an established technique to modulate cortical excitability1,2. It has been used as an investigative tool in neuroscience due to its effects on cortical plasticity, easy operation, and safe profile. One area that tDCS has been showing encouraging results is pain alleviation 3-5.
Breathing-controlled Electrical Stimulation (BreEStim) for Management of Neuropathic Pain and Spasticity
1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 2UTHealth Motor Recovery Laboratory, TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, 3The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital
The purpose is to present a new method, breathing-control electrical stimulation (BreEStim) for management of neuropathic pain and spasticity.
This is a protocol to isolate active full length Kinesin from Drosophila embryos for single-molecule biophysical studies. We show how to collect embryos, make the embryo lysate, and then polymerize microtubules (MTs). Kinesin is purified by immobilizing it on the MTs, spinning down the Kinesin-MT complexes, and then releasing the kinesin from the MTs via ATP addition.
The opener muscle of the crayfish leg is presented for its historical importance and experimental versatility in muscle phenotype, synaptic physiology and plasticity.
Here we present the methodology for fast and high resolution fluorescent voltage-sensitive dye imaging of detailed activity of neurons in the crab stomatogastric ganglion.
1Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 2Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati
In Parkinson's disease and movement disorders in general, sensitive and reliable behavioral assays are essential for testing novel potential therapeutics. Here, we describe a manageable battery of sensorimotor tests for mice that are sensitive to varying degrees of injury to the nigrostriatal system and useful for preclinical studies.
We present a Turing-like Handshake test administered through a telerobotic system in which the interrogator is holding a robotic stylus and interacting with another party (human or artificial). We use a forced choice method, and extract a measure for the similarity of the artificial model to a human handshake.
This article demonstrates how to conduct electrophysiological recordings of synaptic responses on the extensor muscle in the walking leg of a crayfish and how the nerve terminals are visualized to show the gross morphological differences of high- and low-output nerve terminals.
Haptic/Graphic Rehabilitation: Integrating a Robot into a Virtual Environment Library and Applying it to Stroke Therapy
Recently, a vast amount of prospects have come available for human-robot interactive systems. In this paper we outline the integration of a new robotic device with open source software that can rapidly make possible a library of interactive functionality. We then outline a clinical application for a neurorehabilitation application.
1Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 2JoVE Content Production
Back in 1905, in what is now the Czech Republic, Eduard Zirm performed the first corneal transplantation surgery (keratoplasty), which restored vision to a patient blinded by corneal injury. Today, eye banks all over the world prepare, store, and distribute donated corneas to hospitals so that thousands of sight-saving keratoplasties can be performed every year. In June 2012, JoVE has its eye on two research groups, one from Italy and the other from Michigan, who demonstrate two distinct methods for corneal graft preparation prior to transplantation.
This abstract describes a novel method to assess the development of neurotoxicity in patients receiving chemotherapy treatment. While conventional assessment methods are limited in their ability to detect early changes in nerve function, nerve excitability techniques provide early identification of patients at risk of severe neurotoxicity and insight into pathophysiology.
Membrane Potentials, Synaptic Responses, Neuronal Circuitry, Neuromodulation and Muscle Histology Using the Crayfish: Student Laboratory Exercises
The experiments demonstrate an easy approach for students to gain experience in examining muscle structure, synaptic responses, the effects of ion gradients and permeability on membrane potentials. Also, a sensory-CNS-motor-muscle circuit is presented to show a means to test effects of compounds on a neuronal circuit.
We describe a method to record motor activity, timed to the electrically recorded tarsal contact signal in a tethered insect, walking on a slippery surface. This is used to study the neural basis of adaptive behavior under reduced influence of mechanical interaction between legs through the substrate.
In this article, we examine the methodology and considerations relevant to the combination of TMS and fMRI to examine the effects of brain stimulation on the default network.
1Institute for Neural Computation, University of California, 2Department of Radiology, University of California, 3Department of Cognitive Science and Program in Neurosciences, University of California
The adaptation and use of a haptic robot in a 3T fMRI is described.
The skilled reaching scale divides the movement by a forelimb in a reach for food act into composite elements each of which are evaluated with a three-point scale. The rating scale is described for a normal rat and can be applied toward evaluating neurological motor disorders.
Genetically encoded optogenetic tools enable noninvasive manipulation of specific neurons in the Drosophila brain. Such tools can identify neurons whose activation is sufficient to elicit or suppress particular behaviors. Here we present a method for activating Channelrhodopsin2 that is expressed in targeted neurons in freely walking flies.
This protocol describes the use of microinjection and high resolution imaging in the Drosophila melanogaster syncytial embryo to study mitosis.
Intraspinal Cell Transplantation for Targeting Cervical Ventral Horn in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury
Neural precursor transplantation is a promising strategy for protecting and/or replacing lost/dysfunctional cervical phrenic motor neurons in spinal cord injury (SCI) and the motor neuron disorder, amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS). We provide a protocol for cell delivery to cervical spinal cord ventral horn in rodent models of ALS and SCI.
This procedure uses a blue light-activated algal channel and cell-specific genetic expression tools to evoke synaptic potentials with light pulses at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in Drosophila larvae. This technique is an inexpensive and easy-to-use alternative to suction electrode stimulation for synaptic physiology studies in research and teaching laboratories.
A Novel Method for Assessing Proximal and Distal Forelimb Function in the Rat: the Irvine, Beatties and Bresnahan (IBB) Forelimb Scale
Here we will describe a rodent behavioral assay that can detect recovery of both proximal and distal forelimb function including digit movements during a naturally occurring behavior that does not require extensive training or deprivation to enhance motivation.
Simultaneous Recording of Calcium Signals from Identified Neurons and Feeding Behavior of Drosophila melanogaster
The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, extends its proboscis for feeding, responding to a sugar stimulus from its proboscis or tarsus. I have combined observations of the proboscis extension response (PER) with a calcium imaging technique, allowing us to monitor the activity of neurons in the brain, simultaneously with behavioral observation.