Infrared-Guided Laser Stimulation of Neurons in Brain Slices

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Science's STKE  19 Feb 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 120, pp. pl2
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.120.pl2

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Infrared-guided laser stimulation is a new technique that allows precise and rapid stimulation of visualized neurons in brain slices. Infrared imaging of neurons with a new contrast system is combined with the photolytic release of caged neurotransmitters by an ultraviolet (UV) laser. Addition of caged neurotransmitters to the superfusion medium of neurons in brain slices allows local excitation in the micrometer range with a focused spot of UV light. In this way, the distribution of glutamate or γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors on neuronal dendrites can be mapped. Furthermore, this technique can be used to map the connectivity of neuronal networks through the controlled stimulation of neighboring neurons. Because the laser stimulation can be performed much faster than can paired recording, it is also possible to search for synaptic connections between distant neurons that have a low probability of connectivity.

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