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Bilateral multielectrode neurophysiological recordings coupled to local pharmacology in awake songbirds

Nature Protocols volume 5, pages 191200 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

Here we describe a protocol for bilateral multielectrode neurophysiological recordings during intracerebral pharmacological manipulations in awake songbirds. This protocol encompasses fitting adult animals with head-posts and recording chambers, and acclimating them to periods of restraint. The adaptation period is followed by bilateral penetrations of multiple electrodes to obtain acute, sensory-driven neurophysiological responses before versus during the application of pharmacological agents of interest. These local manipulations are achieved by simultaneous and restricted drug infusions carried out independently for each hemisphere. We have used this protocol to elucidate how neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine systems shape the auditory and perceptual processing of natural, learned communication signals. However, this protocol can be used to explore the neurochemical basis of sensory processing in other small vertebrates. Representative results and troubleshooting of key steps of this protocol are presented. Following the animal's recovery from head-post and recording chamber implantation surgery, the length of the procedure is 2 d.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the NIH/NIDCD and start-up packages from the University of Rochester to R.P. and L.A.T. We thank M. Weliky for insightful discussions and the three anonymous reviewers for constructive feedback. The authors are especially indebted to E. Jarvis for providing the conditions and support necessary for the development of the multielectrode array described here. We also thank D. Vicario in whose laboratory two of us (T.T. and R.P.) were exposed to basic concepts and techniques that provided the framework for the advancement of this methodology.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.

    • Liisa A Tremere
    • , Jin Kwon Jeong
    •  & Raphael Pinaud
  2. Department of Biology, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA.

    • Thomas A Terleph

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Contributions

L.A.T., T.A.T. and R.P. extended the method; L.A.T., J.K.J. and R.P. refined the method; L.A.T. customized the stereotaxic equipment and collected the data presented in the paper; L.A.T., T.A.T., J.K.J. and R.P. wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Liisa A Tremere or Raphael Pinaud.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2009.224

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