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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vibrodissociation of Neurons from Rodent Brain Slices to Study Synaptic Transmission and Image Presynaptic Terminals
1Section on Synaptic Pharmacology/Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2Department of Electronics Engineering, Ewha Womans University, 3Section on Transmitter Signaling/Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
This report demonstrates a technique for mechanical isolation of individual viable neurons retaining attached presynaptic boutons. Vibrodissociated neurons have the advantages of rapid production, excellent pharmacological control and improved space-clamp without influence from neighboring cells. This method can be used for imaging of synaptic elements and patch-clamp recording.
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.
The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of Drosophila melanogaster is an important model system for studying normal synaptic function as well as perturbations to synaptic function found in certain neurological diseases. We present a protocol for dissection of the Drosophila larval motor system and immunostaining for active zone proteins within the NMJ.
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.
1Departments of Neurology, Columbia University, 2Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, 4eMolecules, Inc., 5Departments of Neurology and Physiology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, 6Division of Molecular Therapeutics, New York Psychiatric Institute
A new means to measure neurotransmission optically using fluorescent dopamine analogs.
Preparation of Synaptoneurosomes from Mouse Cortex using a Discontinuous Percoll-Sucrose Density Gradient
1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin, 2Department of Biochemistry, Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Wisconsin
A method to prepare translationally active, intact synaptoneurosomes (SNs) from mouse brain cortex is described. The method uses a discontinuous Percoll-sucrose density gradient allowing for the quick preparation of active SNs.
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.
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.
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.
Monitoring Changes in the Intracellular Calcium Concentration and Synaptic Efficacy in the Mollusc Aplysia
1Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, 2Phase Five Communications Inc.
We demonstrate how changes in the intracellular free calcium concentration and synaptic efficacy can be simultaneously monitored in a ganglion preparation of Aplysia. We image intracellular calcium using a fluorescent dye, Calcium Orange, and induce and monitor synaptic transmission with sharp (intracellular) electrodes.
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.
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.
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.
Adult-born neurons expressing ChR2 can be manipulated in slice electrophysiological preparations in order to examine their contribution towards the function of olfactory neural circuits.
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.
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.
German biophysicist Erwin Neher shared the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Bert Sakmann for their pioneering work measuring the activity of single ion channels in cells.
The abundance of neurotransmitter receptors clustered at synapses strongly influences synaptic strength. This method quantifies fluorescently-labeled neurotransmitter receptors in three dimensions with single-synapse resolution in C. elegans, allowing hundreds of synapses to be rapidly characterized within a single sample without distortions introduced by z-plane projection.
1Unit on Neural Circuits and Adaptive Behaviors, Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, National Institute of Mental Health, 2Department of Neuroscience, Brown University - National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program, 3Section on Synaptic Pharmacology, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 4Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown
Experience-dependent molecular changes in neurons are essential for the brain's ability to adapt in response to behavioral challenges. An in vivo two-photon imaging method is described here that allows the tracking of such molecular changes in individual cortical neurons through genetically encoded reporters.
Calmodulin (CaM) pull-down assay is an effective way to investigate the interaction of CaM with various proteins. This method uses CaM-sepharose beads for efficient and specific analysis of CaM-binding proteins. This provides an important tool to explore CaM signaling in cellular function.
Calcium is a ubiquitous messenger in the nervous system, essential for triggering neurotransmitter release and changes in synaptic strength. Here we demonstrate a technique for loading Ca2+-indicators into Drosophila nerve terminals. We also demonstrate fabrication of the required apparatus and emphasize points critical for the technique's success.
The primary purpose of this experiment is to understand how primary sensory neurons convey information of joint movements and positions as proprioceptive information for an animal. An additional objective of this report is present the anatomy of the preparation by dissection and viewing of neurons under a dissecting microscope.
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.
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.
The Morris water maze is a well-accepted tool used to document the involvement of the hippocampus in a behavioral task.
In this video, we demonstrate visualization of PKC translocation in living cells using fluorescently tagged PKCs.
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.
This protocol demonstrates how to perform immunohistochemistry on dissected Drosophila larva.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from the brains of late stage Drosophila pupae. Views of live cultures show neurite outgrowth and imaging of calcium levels using Fura-2.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from midgastrula stage Drosophila embryos. Views of live cultures show cells 1 hour after plating and differentiated neurons after 2 days of growth in a bicarbonate-based defined medium. The neurons are electrically excitable and form synaptic connections.
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.
The opener muscle of the crayfish leg is presented for its historical importance and experimental versatility in muscle phenotype, synaptic physiology and plasticity.
A protocol for performing unilateral 6-OHDA lesions of the medial forebrain bundle in mice is described. This method has a low mortality rate (13.3 %) with 89% of the surviving animals showing >95% loss of striatal dopamine and 90.63±-4.02 % ipsiversive rotational bias towards the side of the lesion.
Here we describe a protocol for the preparation of agar-embedded retinal slices that are suitable for electrophysiology and Ca2+ imaging. This method allows one to study ribbon-type synapses in retinal microcircuits using direct patch-clamp recordings of single presynaptic nerve terminals.
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.
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.
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.
This protocol demonstrates how to dissect Drosophila larvae in preparation for immunohistochemistry and/or imaging of the neuromuscular junction.
Drosophila larvae are able to associate odor stimuli with gustatory reward. Here we describe a simple behavioral paradigm that allows the analysis of appetitive associative olfactory learning.
Electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila embryos allow analyses of developing muscle and neuron electrical properties, as well as characterization of functional synaptogenesis at the glutamatergic neuromuscular junction and central cholinergic and GABAergic synapses.
This technique exposes the Drosophila embryonic neuromusculature for immunohistochemistry or electrophysiological recording. It is useful for studying early events in neuromuscular development or performing electrophysiology in mutants that cannot hatch.
This protocol describes a reliable method for anesthetization and imaging of intact Drosophila melanogaster larvae. We have utilized the volatile anesthetic desflurane to allow for repetitive imaging at sub-cellular resolution and re-identification of structures for up to a few days1.
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 paper introduces an approach of combining laser scanning photostimulation with whole cell recordings in transgenic mice expressing GFP in limited inhibitory neuron populations. The technique allows for extensive mapping and quantitative analysis of local synaptic circuits of specific inhibitory cortical neurons.
A Thin-skull Window Technique for Chronic Two-photon In vivo Imaging of Murine Microglia in Models of Neuroinflammation
We describe a method for repeatedly visualizing murine microglia and circulating monocytes in vivo over hours, days or weeks using transcranial two-photon microscopy. We demonstrate how to prepare a thinned-skull window that allows intermittent observation of quiescent microglia that can be activated by adjacent stereotactic injection of the HIV-1 regulatory protein Tat.