1Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, 2Department of Neurology, University of Washington, 3Division of Genetics, Departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and the Institute for Genomic Medicine, University of California, San Diego - Rady Children’s Hospital
We describe a protocol for the rapid and sensitive quantification of disease severity in mouse models of cerebellar ataxia. Measures include hind limb clasping, ledge test, gait and kyphosis. This protocol effectively discriminates between affected and non-affected individuals, and detects the progression of affected individuals over time.
The cranial mesenchyme undergoes dramatic morphogenic movements that likely provides a driving force for elevation of the neural folds1,2. Here we describe a simple ex vivo explant assay to characterize the cellular behaviors of the cranial mesenchyme during neurulation. This assay has numerous applications including being amenable to pharmacological manipulations and live imaging analyses.
Use of the Operant Orofacial Pain Assessment Device (OPAD) to Measure Changes in Nociceptive Behavior
1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Florida College of Dentistry, 2Department of Neuroscience, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida College of Medicine, 3Stoelting Co., 4Department of Orthodontics, University of Florida
We present a user-friendly, high-throughput operant system for the evaluation of pain behaviors in awake, conscious rodents. The Orofacial Pain Assessment Device (OPAD) can assess pain through a reward/conflict paradigm thus providing a more humane way of testing. This protocol will yield more clinically relevant and translational data from rodents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This protocol describes the stimulation of cultured fibroblasts with low-intensity pulsed ultrasound, which drives focal adhesion formation and Rac1 activation by mimicking engagement of the transmembrane matrix receptor, syndecan-4. This approach allows investigation of a successful clinical technique at the cellular level, thereby providing opportunities for refinement of the therapy.
The study of complex locomotor behavior in Drosophila melanogaster is dependent upon the ability to quantify changes in a given fly's movement. This article demonstrates how to do this using a high-resolution tracking system.
1Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and Immunotherapy, Blood Research Institute, 2Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 3Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Blood Research Institute, 4City of Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory, 5Division of Hematology-Oncology/BMT, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, 6Division of Hematology and Oncology, Dept Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin
This method describes the use of Infrared dye based imaging system for detection of H1N1 in bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of infected mice at a high sensitivity. This methodology can be performed in a 96- or 384-well plate, requires <10 μl volume of test material and has the potential for concurrent screening of multiple pathogens.
γ-Herpesviruses (γ-HVs) establish life-long persistency in their host. Infection of mice with γ-HV68 provides a genetically tractable in vivo model for the characterization of the lifecycle/pathogenesis of γHVs. This protocol describes the detection and quantitation of γHV68 infection at acute and latent stages following infection by plaque-forming, infectious center, and qPCR assays.
A method for developing cell culture substrates with the ability to change topography during culture is described. The method makes use of smart materials known as shape memory polymers that have the ability to memorize a permanent shape. This concept is adaptable to a wide range of materials and applications.
The Citrobacter rodentium Mouse Model: Studying Pathogen and Host Contributions to Infectious Colitis
Citrobacter rodentium infection provides a valuable model to study enteric bacterial infections as well as host immune responses and colitis in mice. This protocol outlines the measurement of barrier integrity, pathogen load and histological damage allowing for the thorough characterization of pathogen and host contributions to murine infectious colitis.
Peptides from Phage Display Library Modulate Gene Expression in Mesenchymal Cells and Potentiate Osteogenesis in Unicortical Bone Defects
A phage display library was used to identify peptide sequences that target bone. The objective was to investigate the effect of these peptides on mesenchymal cell differentiation and to determine their effect on bone regeneration.
Monitoring Cell-autonomous Circadian Clock Rhythms of Gene Expression Using Luciferase Bioluminescence Reporters
Circadian clocks function within individual cells, i.e., they are cell-autonomous. Here, we describe methods for generating cell-autonomous clock models using non-invasive, luciferase-based real-time bioluminescence technology. Reporter cells provide tractable, functional model systems for studying circadian biology.
A Galvanotaxis Assay for Analysis of Neural Precursor Cell Migration Kinetics in an Externally Applied Direct Current Electric Field
In this protocol we demonstrate how to construct custom chambers that permit the application of a direct current electric field to enable time-lapse imaging of adult brain derived neural precursor cell translocation during galvanotaxis.
Eggs and the extracellular coatings around eggs frequently release peptides, proteins and small molecules that communicate with sperm to guide them to the egg thereby promoting fertilization. Using frog sperm we describe and compare two classes of assays used to detect sperm chemoattraction – sperm accumulation assays and sperm tracking assays.
Biophysical Assays to Probe the Mechanical Properties of the Interphase Cell Nucleus: Substrate Strain Application and Microneedle Manipulation
1Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, 2Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology & Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
We present two independent, microscope-based tools to measure the induced nuclear and cytoskeletal deformations in single, living adherent cells in response to global or localized strain application. These techniques are used to determine nuclear stiffness (i.e., deformability) and to probe intracellular force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton.
1Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology, and Neuroscience, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Here we present two techniques for manipulating gene expression in murine retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by in utero and ex vivo electroporation. These techniques enable one to examine how alterations in gene expression affect RGC development, axon guidance, and functional properties.
A method to load subventricular zone (SVZ) cells with calcium indicator dyes for recording calcium activity is described. The postnatal SVZ contains tightly packed cells including neural progenitor cells and neuroblasts. Rather than using bath loading we injected the dye by pressure inside the tissue allowing better dye diffusion.
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.
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2Scholars Academy/MARC Scholar, University of Houston-Downtown, 3Genes and Development Graduate Program, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 4Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
In this article, we demonstrate assays to study thermal nociception in Drosophila larvae. One assay involves spatially-restricted (local) stimulation of thermal nociceptors1,2 while the second involves a wholesale (global) activation of most or all such neurons3. Together, these techniques allow visualization and quantification of the behavioral functions of Drosophila nociceptive sensory neurons.
Ex Vivo Red Blood Cell Hemolysis Assay for the Evaluation of pH-responsive Endosomolytic Agents for Cytosolic Delivery of Biomacromolecular Drugs
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science & Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 3Interdisciplinary Materials Science Program, Vanderbilt University, 4Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 5Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 6Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University
A hemolysis assay can be used as a rapid, high-throughput screen of drug delivery systems' cytocompatibility and endosomolytic activity for intracellular cargo delivery. The assay measures the disruption of erythrocyte membranes as a function of environmental pH.
Drosophila melanogaster is a genetically and behaviorally tractable model system that has been used to understand the molecular and cellular basis of many important biological processes for over a century 1. Drosophila has been well exploited to gain insights into the genetic basis of fly behavior.
A novel directed evolution method specific to the field of thermostability engineering was developed and consequently validated for bacteriolytic enzymes. After only one round of random mutagenesis, an evolved bacteriolytic enzyme, PlyC 29C3, displayed greater than twice the residual activity when compared to the wild-type protein after elevated temperature incubation.
Assessing Neurodegenerative Phenotypes in Drosophila Dopaminergic Neurons by Climbing Assays and Whole Brain Immunostaining
Here we describe two assays that have been established to study age-dependent neurodegeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Drosophila: the climbing/startle-induced negative geotaxis assay which allows to study the functional effects of DA neurons degeneration and the tyrosine hydroxylase immunostaining which is used to identify and count DA neurons in whole brain mounts.
In this video article, we describe a new method allowing the construction of odorant gradients with stable and controllable geometries. We briefly illustrate how these gradients can be used to screen for olfactory defects (full and partial anosmia) and to study more subtle features of chemotaxis behavior.
Behavior assays for measuring locomotor functions, learning, and memory abilities in Drosophila.
1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, 2Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics, Mount Sinai Hospital, 3Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, 4Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 5Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Here we describe a detailed protocol for examination of sociability in mice by using Crawley's sociability and preference for social novelty test. We describe the advantages and possible applications for this procedure, including critical details important for correct interpretation of the results.
Here we describe a light-dark preference test for Drosophila larva. This assay provides information about innate and circadian regulation of light sensing and processing photobehavior.
Habituation and prepulse inhibition of startle are operational measures of sensory gating. Sensory gating is disrupted in schizophrenia, and some other mental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. We here describe a standard protocol to assess short-term and long-term habituation as well as prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle responses in rats and mice.
The comparative species approach allows behavioral neuroscientists to explore various neurobiological factors associated with specific behaviors viewed as characteristic of a specific animal model. Taking advantage of naturally occurring differences in behavior between closely related species, this technique doesn’t require invasive techniques to manipulate the expression of the behavior.
1Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 2School of Healthcare Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University
This article describes the use of chronic resident intruder social stress as an ethologically relevant paradigm to model postpartum depression and anxiety in lactating rodents.
1Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2Tulane University School of Medicine, 3The Program in Neuroscience, University of Maryland, 4Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine
The tail-suspension test is validated as an experimental procedure to assess antidepressant efficacy of drug treatments in mice. Mice are suspended by their tails for six minutes and escape-related behaviors are assessed. We describe procedures used in conducting the tail suspension test.
Video playback is a widely used technique in animal behavior. We created and evaluated a program that applies rules-based, interactive playback of 3-D computer animations in response to real-time, automated data on subject behavior.
Here, we describe a rapid reliable and simple procedure to determine the lowest temperature at which rats or mice show nocifensive behavior, i.e. the thermal nociceptive threshold (TNT). This method applies a slowly increasing thermal stimulus allowing precise and reproducible estimation of TNTs with minimum, if any, stress to the animals.
We have developed two methods for studying effects of visual cues on behavior in the absence of tactile and chemical cues. One method involves videotaping responses of crayfish to reflective walls in an aquarium; the other examines effects of visual inputs provided by a live crayfish behind a transparent partition.
To understand a link between the immune response and behavior, we describe a method to measure locomotor behavior in Drosophila during bacterial infection as well as the ability of flies to mount an immune response by monitoring survival, bacterial load, and real-time activity of a key regulator of innate immunity, NFκB.
Here are some highlights from the September 2011 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
Optogenetic techniques have made it possible to study the contribution of specific neurons to behavior. We describe a method in larval zebrafish for activating single somatosensory neurons expressing a channelrhodopsin variant (ChEF) with a diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) laser and recording the elicited behaviors with a high-speed video camera.
An approach to neural network modeling on the LEGO Mindstorms robotics platform is presented. The method provides a simulation tool for invertebrate neuroscience research in both the research lab and the classroom. This technique enables the investigation of biomimetic robot control principles.
1Genetic Engineering and Functional Genomics Unit, Frontier Technology Center, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 2Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science Division of Systems Medicine, Fujita Health University
The elevated plus maze test is one of the most widely used tests for measuring anxiety-like behavior in mice. Here, we present a movie showing the detailed procedures for conducting the test.
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.
1Neural Development Group, Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK, 2Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Imaging embryonic tissue in real-time is challenging over long periods of time. Here we present an assay for monitoring cellular and sub-cellular changes in chick spinal cord for long periods with high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique can be adapted for other regions of the nervous system and developing embryo.
Driving Simulation in the Clinic: Testing Visual Exploratory Behavior in Daily Life Activities in Patients with Visual Field Defects
Patients with visual deficits after stroke report about different constraints in daily life most likely due to variable compensatory strategies, which are difficult to differentiate in clinical routine. We present a clinical set-up which allows measurement of different compensatory head- and eye-movement-strategies and evaluating their effects on driving performance.
The light/dark transition test is one of the most widely used tests to measure anxiety-like behavior in mice. Here, we present a movie that shows detailed procedures on how we conduct the test.
Recording Multicellular Behavior in Myxococcus xanthus Biofilms using Time-lapse Microcinematography
To study Myxococcus xanthus swarm behavior, we have designed a time-lapse microcinematography protocol that can be modified for different assays. It employs standard growth conditions adapted for microscopy, and yields reproducible results by the use of inexpensive, reusable silicone gaskets. We have used this method to quantify multicellular chemotaxis.
We describe the first endurance training protocol for an important genetic model species, Drosophila melanogaster, and outline several assays to chart improvements in mobility following training.
This third issue of JoVE draws attention to issues on the intersection of the basic and applied biomedical research. In this context, the interview with Ole Isacson (McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School) provides an in-depth look at contemporary challenges of Parkinson’s disease research. The candid interview grants insights that reach beyond the pure scientific problems, as it addresses...
1Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 2Brain Research Unit, Low Temperature Laboratory and Advanced magnetic Imaging Center, Aalto University School of Science and Technology
In this article, we examine the effects of visually relevant state dependency on TMS induced motive phosphenic presentations.