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About this book
This is a collection of investigative laboratory experiments designed for the advanced undergraduate and the first- or second-year graduate student. In the first of its three major sections, neurons are studied as individual cells, including topics such as intracellular recording, immunocytochemistry, and HPLC. The second section studies neurons as forming connections, with experiments on tract tracing, information coding, and LTP, and the third section looks at neurons as co-ordinators of behaviour, through approaches such as pharmacology, lesioning, and ethology. The fourth and final section focuses on techniques applicable to several experiments in the collection, including electrophysiological recording, surgery, anaesthetics, and staining methods. The experiments are designed to introduce students to the techniques used in neuroscience research laboratories. They have been tested and should be easily integrated into existing neuroscience courses of any length or emphasis.
Part 1 Neurons as cells: studying the neuron using intracellular recording - the action potential and neuronal anatomy; an introduction to neurochemistry - acetylcholinesterase assay; immnunocytochemical localization of neuronal transmitters - two methods for identifying neurotransmitters in situ; pharmacological manipulation of catecholamine neurochemical levels - an analysis using HPLC; Ca-activated chloride conductance in Xenopus Oocytes - introduction to methods of molecular neurobiology. Part 2 Neurons forming connections: synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity - the neuromuscular junction of the crayfish; tracing neural connections - thalamo-corticol interconnections in the mammalian somatosensory system; information coding and receptive fields - properties of mammalian neurons recorded in rat thalamus; field potential recording in the hippocampal slice; long-term potential - stimulating and recording in the hippocampus of an anaesthetized rat. Part 3 Neurons co-ordinating behaviour: observational methods used to assess behaviour; neuropharmacology - comparison of behavioural response in infant and adult rats after drug administration; chronic recording from rat brain - hippocampal theta rhythm; effects of lesion on spatial and non-spatial learning; control of the ovulatory cycle and sexual behaviour in the Syrian hamster. Part 4 Techniques: using electrophysiological equipment; surgery procedures; perfusion and sectioning; staining - Golgi, Nissl, acethycholinesterase and choline acetyltransferase. Appendices: sources of equipment; addresses of suppliers; use of animals in experiments.