Innovative molecular tools allow neuroscientists to study neural circuitry associated with specific behaviors. Consequently, behavioral methods must be developed to interface with these new molecular tools in order for neuroscientists to identify the causal elements underlying behavior and decision-making processes. Here we present an apparatus and protocol for a novel Go/No-Go behavioral paradigm to study the brain attention and motivation/reward circuitry in awake, head-restrained rodents. This experimental setup allows: (1) Painless and stable restraint of the head and body; (2) Rapid acquisition to simple or complex operant tasks; (3) Repeated electrophysiological single and multiple unit recordings during ongoing behavior; (4) Pharmacological and viral manipulation of various brain regions via targeted guide cannula, and; (5) Optogenetic cell-type specific activation and silencing with simultaneous electrophysiological recording. In addition to the experimental advantages, the head-restraint system is relatively inexpensive and training parameters can be easily modulated to the specifications of the experimenter. The system runs on custom LabView software. In summary, our novel apparatus and protocol allows researchers to study and manipulate components of behavior, such as motivation, impulsivity, and reward-related working memory during an ongoing operant behavioral task without interference from non task-related behaviors. For more information on the custom apparatus, software or to collaborate please visit www.neuro-cloud.net/nature-precedings/dolzani.
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Dolzani, S., Cooper, D. A novel apparatus/protocol designed for optogenetic manipulation and recording of individual neurons during a motivation and working memory task in the rodent. Nat Prec (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/npre.2012.7152.1
- learning and memory