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Preparation of an awake mouse for recording neural responses and injecting tracers


It is well known that anesthesia alters neural response properties in various regions of the brain. In the auditory system, fundamental response properties of brainstem neurons including threshold, frequency specificity, and inhibitory sidebands are altered in significant ways under anesthesia. These observations prompted physiologists to seek ways to record from single neurons without the contaminating effects of anesthesia. One result was a decerebrate preparation, where the brainstem was completely transected at the level of the midbrain. The drawbacks of this preparation are a formidable surgery, the elimination of descending projections from the forebrain, and an inability to use sensory stimulation to examine structures above the midbrain. A different strategy has been to implant electrode arrays chronically to record from single neurons and multiunit clusters while the animal is awake and/or behaving. These techniques however are not compatible with injecting tracer dyes after first electrophysiologically characterizing a brain structure. To avoid altering neural response properties with anesthetics while recording electrophysiological response properties from single neurons, we have adapted a head restraint technique long used in bats to mouse. Using this method, we are able to conduct electrophysiological recordings over several days in the unanesthetized mouse. At the end of the recording sessions, we can then inject a dye to reconstruct electrode positions and recording sites or inject a tracer so that pathways to and from the recording loci can be determined. This method allows for well isolated single neuron recordings over multiple days without the use anesthetics.

Type Journal
ISBN 1940-087X (Electronic) 1940-087X (Linking)
Authors Muniak, M. A.; Mayko, Z. M.; Ryugo, D. K.; Portfors, C. V.;
Garvan Authors Prof David Ryugo
Publisher Name Journal of Visualized Experiments
Published Date 2012-01-01 00:00:00
Published Issue 64
Status Published In-print
OpenAccess Link