1Department of Biology, University of Iowa, 2Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc.
A combination of different techniques to maximize data collection from mouse tissue is presented.
1Section on Neuronal Structure, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, NIAAA, NIH, 2Department Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, 3Oregon National Primate Research Center, Division of Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University
We demonstrate the use of the gene gun to introduce fluorescent dyes, such as DiI, into neurons in brain slices from rodents and non-human primates of different ages. In this particular case, we use adult mice (3-6 months old) and adult cynomologus monkeys (9-15 years old). This technique, originally described by the laboratory of Dr. Lichtman (Gan et al., 2000), is well suited for the study of dendritic branching and dendritic spine morphology and can be combined with traditional immunostaining, if detergents are kept at a low concentration.
We provide a practical guide for delivering tracers in vivo and use the spinocerebellar pathway as a model system to demonstrate essential steps for successful neuronal circuit analysis in mice. We describe in detail our versatile tracing protocol that exploits wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) conjugated to Alexa fluorophores.
A method of tracing synaptically connected neurons is described. We use TVA specificity of an upstream cell to probe whether a cell population of interest receives synaptic input from genetically defined cell types.
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.
DiI-Labeling of DRG Neurons to Study Axonal Branching in a Whole Mount Preparation of Mouse Embryonic Spinal Cord
The stereotyped projections of sensory afferents into the rodent spinal cord offer an easily accessible experimental system to study axonal branching through the tracing of single axons.
Optic Nerve transection is a widely used model of adult CNS injury. This model is ideal for performing a number of experimental manipulations that target the retina globally or directly target the injured neuronal population of retinal ganglion cells.
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary, 2Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
In utero electroporation allows for rapid gene delivery in a spatially- and temporally-controlled manner in the developing central nervous system (CNS). Here we describe a highly adaptable in utero electroporation protocol that can be used to deliver expression constructs into multiple embryonic CNS domains, including the telencephalon, diencephalon and retina.
We present a technique for labeling single neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) of Drosophila embryos, which allows the analysis of neuronal morphology by either transmitted light or confocal microscopy.
1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, UMR 631, Parc scientifique de Luminy, 2Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 6102, Parc scientifique de Luminy, 3Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Aix-Marseille University, 4École Centrale Marseille, Technopôle de Château-Gombert, 5Institut Fresnel, Aix-Marseille University, 6Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 6133, Aix-Marseille University
Multiple-Target Tracing is a homemade algorithm developed for tracking individually labeled molecules within the plasma membrane of living cells. Efficiently detecting, estimating and tracing molecules over time at high-density provide a user-friendly, comprehensive tool to investigate nanoscale membrane dynamics.
1Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University, 2Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 3School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, 4Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, Johns Hopkins University
Electrophysiological characterization of neuronal responses is important for understanding brain function and for guiding the placement of dyes for pathway tracing. However, many studies are performed in anesthetized animals. To understand brain function without anesthetics, we developed a method to record neuronal response properties and inject dyes in awake mouse.
An injury paradigm using the Drosophila larval ventral nerve cord to investigate central nervous system regeneration and repair is described. Stabbing followed by laser scanning confocal microscopy in time-lapse and fixed specimens, combined with quantitative analysis with purposefully developed software and genetics, are used to investigate the molecular mechanisms of CNS regeneration and repair.
1Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Anatomy, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 2Research Centre of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Aging, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 3State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, The University of Hong Kong
This video demonstrates three types of morphometric analyses of the retina, which include measuring the inner nuclear layer thickness, quantifying the number of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and measuring the sizes of RGCs. The technique can offer a simple but scientific platform for morphometric analyses.
1Département Nociception et Douleur, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 2Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Anesthesiology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
Viral vectors allow for targeted gene manipulation. We demonstrate a method for conditional gene expression or ablation in the mouse spinal cord, using stereotaxic injection of a viral vector into the dorsal horn, a prominent site of synaptic contact between primary somatosensory afferents and neurons of the central nervous system.
An approach for analyzing migration and eventual fate of avian neural crest cells in quail-chick chimeric embryos is described. This method is a simple and straightforward technique for tracing neural crest cells during migration and differentiation that are otherwise difficult to distinguish within an unmanipulated chick embryo.
1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 2Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Primary, human fetal brain-derived, multipotential progenitor cells proliferate in vitro while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. This work shows that neural progenitors can be induced to differentiate through stages of the oligodendrocytic lineage by conditioning with select growth factors.
1Research Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Memphis, TN, 2Department of Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 3Department of Anatomy/Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
A rapid approach to investigate interactions and effects on molecular mechanisms related to the presence of antibodies in an intracellular environment is described. The method involves transfection of antibodies into live cells using a non-covalent complex formation based on a lipid formulation. The technique is adaptable to immortalized cell lines and primary cells.
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.
Voltage-sensitive Dye Recording from Axons, Dendrites and Dendritic Spines of Individual Neurons in Brain Slices
An imaging technique for monitoring of membrane potential changes with sub-micrometer spatial and sub-millisecond temporal resolution is described. The technique, based on laser excitation of voltage-sensitive dyes, allows measurements of signals in axons and axon collaterals, terminal dendritic branches, and individual dendritic spines.
In this video, we will demonstrate how to record electrical activity from identified single neurons in a whole brain preparation, which preserves complex neural circuits. We use transgenic fish in which gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are genetically tagged with a fluorescent protein for identification in the intact brain preparation.
Implementing Dynamic Clamp with Synaptic and Artificial Conductances in Mouse Retinal Ganglion Cells
1Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, 2The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, 3Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney
This video article illustrates the set-up, the procedures to patch cell bodies and how to implement dynamic clamp recordings from ganglion cells in whole-mount mouse retinae. This technique allows the investigation of the precise contribution of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs, and their relative magnitude and timing to neuronal spiking.
1Department of Biological Sciences and Institute for Neuroscience, George Washington University, 2Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 3Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California San Francisco
Here we describe a molecular readout of long-term olfactory adaptation in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Protein Kinase G, EGL-4, is necessary for stable adaptation responses in the primary sensory neuron pair called AWC. During prolonged odor exposure EGL-4 translocates from the cytosol to nucleus of the AWC.
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.
Optimized System for Cerebral Perfusion Monitoring in the Rat Stroke Model of Intraluminal Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion
Cerebral perfusion monitoring has been demonstrated to improve accuracy in ischemic stroke models. Technical difficulties often limit the use of this essential tool for cerebrovascular research. In this video, an optimized system is shown to obtain a single or multi-site hemodynamic monitoring during intraluminal middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats.
In utero Electroporation followed by Primary Neuronal Culture for Studying Gene Function in Subset of Cortical Neurons
In utero electroporation is a valuable method for transfecting neuronal progenitor cells in vivo. Depending upon the placement of the electrodes and the developmental timepoint of electroporation, certain subsets of cortical cells can be targeted. Targeted cells can then be analyzed in vivo or in vitro for effects of genetic alteration.
Imaging Analysis of Neuron to Glia Interaction in Microfluidic Culture Platform (MCP)-based Neuronal Axon and Glia Co-culture System
This study describes the procedures of setting up a novel neuronal axon and (astro)glia co-culture platform. In this co-culture system, manipulation of direct interaction between a single axon (and single glial cell) becomes feasible, allowing mechanistic analysis of the mutual neuron to glial signaling.
The IonFlux Automated Patch Clamp System provides high throughput, cost-effective ion channel screening for a wide range of electrophysiology applications. Fast compound exchange, low cost per data point, and convenient well plate formats make the system ideal for both ligand- and voltage-gated ion channel targets. The IonFlux HT provides an industry-leading 10,000 data points per day, while the IonFlux 16 provides true automated patch clamp performance for about the cost of a manual patch clamp rig.
With its small transparent body, well-documented neuroanatomy and a host of amenable genetic techniques and reagents, C. elegans makes an ideal model organism for in vivo neuronal imaging using relatively simple, low-cost techniques. Here we describe single neuron imaging within intact adult animals using genetically encoded fluorescent calcium indicators.
A robust way to study neuronal avalanches, i.e. scale-invariant spatio-temporal activity bursts, indicative of critical state dynamics in cortex. Avalanches emerge spontaneously in developing superficial layers of cultured cortex which allows for long-term measurements of the activity with planar integrated multi-electrode arrays (MEA) under precisely controlled conditions.
Rapid and Efficient Generation of Neurons from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells in a Multititre Plate Format
Protocols for neuronal differentiation of pluripotent human stem cells (hPSCs) are often time-consuming and require substantial cell culture skills. Here, we have adapted a small molecule-based differentiation procedure to a multititre plate format, allowing simple, rapid, and efficient generation of human neurons in a controlled manner.
A method to visualize and quantify F-actin barbed ends in neuronal growth cones is described. After culturing neurons on glass coverslips, cells are permeabilized with a saponin-containing solution. Then, a short incubation with the saponin buffer containing rhodamine-actin incorporates fluorescent actin onto free actin barbed ends.
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.
Identification of Olfactory Volatiles using Gas Chromatography-Multi-unit Recordings (GCMR) in the Insect Antennal Lobe
Olfactory cues mediate many different behaviors in insects, and are often complex mixtures comprised of tens to hundreds of volatile compounds. Using gas chromatography with multi-channel recording in the insect antennal lobe, we describe a method for the identification of bioactive compounds.
1Department of Neuroscience, The University of Connecticut Health Center, 2Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, The University of Connecticut Health Center, 3Stem Cell Institute, The University of Connecticut Health Center
This procedure yields telencephalic neurons by going through checkpoints which are similar to those observed during human development. The cells are allowed to spontaneously differentiate, are exposed to factors which push them towards the neural lineage, are isolated, and are plated onto coverslips to allow for terminal differentiation and maturation.
Efficient Derivation of Human Neuronal Progenitors and Neurons from Pluripotent Human Embryonic Stem Cells with Small Molecule Induction
1San Diego Regenerative Medicine Institute, 2Xcelthera, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School, 4Division of SCI Research, VA Boston Healthcare System, 5Program in Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, 6La Jolla IVF
We have established a protocol for induction of neuroblasts direct from pluripotent human embryonic stem cells maintained under defined conditions with small molecules, which enables derivation of a large supply of human neuronal progenitors and neuronal cell types in the developing CNS for neural repair.
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.
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.
A novel impulsive cell pressurization experiment has been developed using a Kolsky bar device to investigate the molecular/cellular mechanisms of blast-induced traumatic brain injury.
We describe a methodology combining automated cell culturing with high-content imaging to visualize and quantify multiple cellular processes and structures, in a high-throughput manner. Such methods can aid in the further functional annotation of genomes as well as identify disease gene networks and potential drug targets.
A technique is described to quantify the in vivo physiological response of mammalian neurons during movement and correlate the physiology of the neuron with neuronal morphology, neurochemical phenotype and synaptic microcircuitry.
Using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to measure electrically evoked presynaptic dopamine dynamics in striatal brain slices.
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.
The Neuroblast Assay: An Assay for the Generation and Enrichment of Neuronal Progenitor Cells from Differentiating Neural Stem Cell Progeny Using Flow Cytometry
This video protocol demonstrates a novel method for the generation and subsequent purification of neuronal progenitor cells from a renewable source of neural stem cells (NSCs) based on their physical (size and internal granularity) and fluorescent properties using flow cytometry technology.
An in vitro model for genetic study of axon regeneration using cultured adult mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons is described. The method includes a re-suspension/re-plating step to allow axon re-growth from neurons undergoing genetic manipulation. This approach is especially useful for loss-of-function studies of axon regeneration using RNAi-based protein knockdown.
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.
We describe a process using laser-capture microdissection to isolate and extract RNA from a homogeneous cell population, pyramidal neurons, in layer III of the superior temporal gyrus in postmortem human brains. We subsequently linearly amplify (T7-based) mRNA, and hybridize the sample to the Affymetrix human X3P microarray.
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.
Simultaneous Pre- and Post-synaptic Electrophysiological Recording from Xenopus Nerve-muscle Co-cultures
This video demonstrates the procedures used to grow primary cultures of embryonic Xenopus nerve and muscle cells and the usefulness of this preparation for making simultaneous pre- and post-synaptic patch clamp recordings.
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.
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.