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Encyclopedia of Experiments: Cancer Research

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Harvesting DRG from Rat Spine: A Procedure to Extract Dorsal Root Ganglion from the Spine of a Rat Model

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The dorsal root ganglia or DRG are clusters of cell bodies of sensory neurons lodged within the vertebrae on either side of the spinal cord. Their primary function is to transmit sensory neuronal signals from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system.

To isolate the dorsal root ganglia, begin by taking a freshly harvested rat spine. Dissect the spine to separate the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. Keep the spine sections in a  suitable buffer to ensure tissue hydration.

Now, position the thoracic section with its dorsal side facing up. Divide the section into two lateral halves. Next, secure the dissected half of the spine segment, medial side up. Gently detach the bisected spinal cord - a long, tubular structure - from the segmented vertebral bones of the section to reveal the underlying DRG.

The DRG appear as distinct white masses with dorsal and ventral roots embedded within the spinal canal. With fine forceps, carefully pull out the DRG to dislodge it from the spinal canal. Finally, transfer the harvested DRG into a suitable media for further downstream applications.

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