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.
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.
1Norton Neuroscience Institute, Norton Healthcare, 2Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Group, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, Department of Neurological Surgery and Goodman and Campbell Brain and Spine, Medical Neuroscience Graduate Program, and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine
A novel technique to create a reproducible in vivo model of cervical spinal cord laceration injury in the mouse is described. This technique is based on spine stabilization by fixation of the cervical facets and laceration of the spinal cord using an oscillating blade with an accuracy of ±0.01 mm.
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.
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.
This protocol illustrates a harvesting technique for coccygeal bovine intervertebral discs for organ culture for in vitro organ culture.
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.
This video demonstrates the technique of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in the ovine model.
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.
In this video and supplemental material, we show a protocol for chronic in vivo imaging of the intact brain using a thinned-skull preparation.
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.
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.
This video and protocol demonstrate how to implant a glass-covered cranial window in rodents. These preparations can be used for chronic in vivo two-photon imaging of the neocortex over time scales of months. It may also be used for other types of imaging, including optical intrinsic signal imaging.
Surgical Transplantation of Mouse Neural Stem Cells into the Spinal Cords of Mice Infected with Neurotropic Mouse Hepatitis Virus
1Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine, 2Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Center, University of California, Irvine, 3Institute for Immunology, University of California, Irvine
The transplantation of mouse neural stem cells (NSCs) into the spinal cords of mice with established demyelination is detailed. The preparation of NSCs, the laminectomy of thoracic vertebra 9 (T9), and transplantation of NSCs is outlined along with the pre- and post-operative care of the mice.
Murine Spinotrapezius Model to Assess the Impact of Arteriolar Ligation on Microvascular Function and Remodeling
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, 3Office of Animal Welfare, University of Virginia, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering & Institute for Computational Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
We demonstrate a novel arterial ligation model in murine spinotrapezius muscle, including a step-by-step procedure and description of required instrumentation. We describe the surgery and relevant outcome measurements relating to vascular network remodeling and functional vasodilation using intravital and confocal microscopy.
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.
This article describes an electrophysiological method for isolating chemical stimulation to individual sensilla via extracellular, tip-recordings under mineral oil.
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.
A reliable and repeatable way to produce a cervical unilateral spinal cord injury using the Infinite Horizon impactor is described. The method takes advantage of a custom designed frame and clamp to stabilize the spine. The standardized procedure and biomechanical injury parameters result in sufficient and sustained injuries.
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.
1Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) involves image-guided, ablative radiation delivered to cancer targets refractory to chemotherapy or to conventional radiation treatment. The robotic-armed Cyberknife SBRT system, using sophisticated target localization, delivers hypofractionated radiation doses capable of sterilizing cancer targets. This article will consider new therapeutic roles of SBRT for gynecological cancers.
Obliterative bronchiolitis is the key impediment to the long-term survival of lung transplant recipients and the lack of a robust preclinical model precludes examining obliterative bronchiolitis immunopathogenesis. Unlike other solid organ transplants, vascularized mouse lung transplantation has only recently been developed. Here we show our independently developed obliterative bronchiolitis model after murine orthotopic single-lung transplantation.
We have developed a device (Twister) to study the regulation of tonic muscle activity during active postural maintenance. Twister measures torsional resistance and muscular responses in standing subjects during twisting of the body axis. The device can be flexibly configured to study various aspects of tonic control across the neck, trunk, and/or hips.
We describe an established technique to measure and analyze odor-evoked calcium responses in the antennal lobe of living Drosophila melanogaster.
Derivation of Enriched Oligodendrocyte Cultures and Oligodendrocyte/Neuron Myelinating Co-cultures from Post-natal Murine Tissues
1Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 3Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook University, 4Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa
This article describes methods to derive enriched populations of murine oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in primary culture, which differentiate to produce mature oligodendrocytes (OLs). In addition, this report describes techniques to produce murine myelinating co-cultures by seeding mouse OPCs onto a neurite bed of mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGNs).
A clear, standardized method for dissection and isolation of the zebrafish heart at multiple developmental stages are described. Annotation and quantification techniques are also discussed.
The mouse heterotopic heart transplantation model has been proven by many investigators to be an important method for studying mechanisms of rejection and immune response. However, the techniques involved are still challenging. By modifying standard techniques we have had success with more than 1000 transplants.
1Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center - University of Amsterdam, 2Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), 3Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, 4EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Center, 5Institute of Health Sciences, VU University, 6Department of Pediatrics, VU University Medical Center
Measurement of autonomic nervous system activity usually confines the researcher and participant to the laboratory, which may provide an intimidating environment to children. The VU University Ambulatory Monitoring System (VU-AMS) device can record cardiac autonomic control in any setting. The VU-AMS proved very amenable to testing in children.
In order to study the changes of nociceptive intraepidermal nerve fibers (IENFs) in painful neuropathies (PN), we developed protocols that could directly examine three-dimensional morphological changes observed in nociceptive IENFs. Three-dimensional analysis of IENFs has the potential to evaluate the morphological changes of IENF in PN.
Early embryonic lung organ culture is a very useful system to study epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Both epithelial and mesenchymal morphogenesis proceeds under specific conditions that can be readily manipulated in this system.
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.
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.
Directed differentiation of hESCs into specific cells has generated much interest in regenerative medicine. We provide a concise, step-by-step protocol for determining the in vivo fate of selected hESCs that provides a valuable tool for characterizing tissue-specific reagents for cell-based therapy.
1Department of Physics, University of California, San Diego, 2Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Pennsylvania State University, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University, 4Section of Neurobiology, University of California, San Diego
We present a method to form an imaging window in the mouse skull that spans millimeters and is stable for months without inflammation of the brain. This method is well suited for longitudinal studies of blood flow, cellular dynamics, and cell/vascular structure using two-photon microscopy.
Our protocol describes how to dissect the rat abdominal mammary gland and how to prepare mammary gland whole mounts. It also describes how to analyze mammary gland morphology using three end-points (number of terminal end buds, epithelial elongation and differentiation) and to use these results to predict mammary cancer risk in rats which were exposed to dietary modifications in utero or during prepuberty.
Isolation of Normal and Cancer-associated Fibroblasts from Fresh Tissues by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)
Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs) facilitate tumor initiation, growth and progression through signaling that promotes proliferation, angiogenesis, and inflammation. Here we describe a method to isolate pure populations of normal fibroblasts and CAFs from fresh mouse and human tissues by cell sorting, using PDGFRα as a surface marker.
Isometric and Eccentric Force Generation Assessment of Skeletal Muscles Isolated from Murine Models of Muscular Dystrophies
1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2Department of Physiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Dental Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Muscle function measurements contribute to the evaluation of potential therapeutics for muscle pathology, as well as to the determination of mechanisms underlying physiology of this tissue. We will demonstrate the preparation of the extensor digitorum longus and diaphragm muscles for functional testing. Protocols for isometric and eccentric contractions will be shown, as well as differences in results between dystrophic muscles, representing a pathological state, and wildtype muscles.
Right Ventricular Systolic Pressure Measurements in Combination with Harvest of Lung and Immune Tissue Samples in Mice
1Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, 2Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 3Division of Pulmonary Medicine, New York University School of Medicine
A specific and rapid protocol to simultaneously investigate right heart function, lung inflammation, and the immune response is described as a learning tool. Video and figures describe physiology and microdissection techniques in an organized team-approach that is adaptable to be used for small to large sized studies.
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).
1Temple University, Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, 2Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital, 3Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine, 4Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Temple University School of Medicine
An in vivo imaging protocol to monitor primary sensory axons following dorsal root crush is described. The procedures utilize wide-field fluorescence microscopy and thy1-YFP transgenic mice, and permit repeated imaging of axon regeneration over 4 cm in the PNS and axon interactions with the interface of the CNS.
To understand network dynamics of microcircuits in the neocortex, it is essential to simultaneously record the activity of a large number of neurons . In-vivo two-photon calcium imaging is the only method that allows one to record the activity of a dense neuronal population with single-cell resolution .
A method to intranasally administer drugs to awake mice for the purpose of targeting the brain is described. This method allows for repeat dosing over long periods using intranasal administration of drug without anesthesia, and nose-to-brain delivery with minimal systemic exposure.
Due to the simplicity of surgery and the robust behavioural outcome, chronic constriction of the sciatic nerve is one of the pre-eminent animal models of neuropathic pain. Within 24 hrs following surgery, pain hypersensitivity is established and can be quantitatively measured using a von Frey aesthesiometer (mechanical test) and plantar analgesia meter (thermal test).
A murine model for ventilator induced lung injury is an important tool to study an acute lung injury in vivo. Here, we report an easy applicable in situ model for acute lung injury using high-pressure mechanical ventilation to induce acute failure of the lung.
This method describes how to dissect and assess mammary gland development and function from mice. Excised mammary glands are assessed for the degree of development using whole mount while milk ejection is evaluated using an oxytocin-based myoepithelial cell contraction assay.
Mosaic Analysis of Gene Function in Postnatal Mouse Brain Development by Using Virus-based Cre Recombination
1Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California, 3Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
An in vivo method to test gene function in postnatal brain is described. Recombinant AAVs expressing Cre and/or a fluorescent protein are injected into neonatal mouse brain. Mosaic gene inactivation and sparse neuronal labeling are achieved, allowing rapid analysis of gene function in processes critical to neural circuit development.
Dorsal Column Steerability with Dual Parallel Leads using Dedicated Power Sources: A Computational Model
Using a mathematical model of spinal cord stimulation, we found that a multi-source system with independent power sources for each contact can target more central points of stimulation on the dorsal column (100 vs 3) and has 50-fold more field steering resolution (0.02mm vs 1mm) than a single-source system.
A minimally invasive protocol to stabilize the mouse spinal column and perform repetitive in vivo spinal cord imaging using two-photon microscopy is described. This method combines a spinal stabilization device and an anesthetic regimen to minimize respiratory-induced movements and produce raw imaging data that require no alignment or other post-processing.
Pseudofracture, a reproducible murine model of sterile musculoskeletal trauma, allows for evaluation of late term post-traumatic immune responses. This article describes the procedural execution of the model step by step, including the potential for experimental model combinations to permit study of multiple trauma.