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In vivo Calcium Imaging in Mouse Inferior Olive


Authors: Da Guo, Ayşen Gürkan Özer, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari
Publication: JOVE
Date: June 10, 2021
Link to article: https://dx.doi.org/10.3791/62222


Inferior olive (IO), a nucleus in the ventral medulla, is the only source of climbing fibers that form one of the two input pathways entering the cerebellum. IO has long been proposed to be crucial for motor control and its activity is currently considered to be at the center of many hypotheses of both motor and cognitive functions of the cerebellum. While its physiology and function have been relatively well studied on single-cell level in vitro, presently there are no reports on the organization of the IO network activity in living animals. This is largely due to the extremely challenging anatomical location of the IO, making it difficult to subject to conventional fluorescent imaging methods, where an optic path must be created through the entire brain located dorsally to the region of interest. Here we describe an alternative method for obtaining state-of-the-art -level calcium imaging data from the IO network. The method takes advantage of the extreme ventral location of the IO and involves a surgical procedure for inserting a gradient-refractive index (GRIN) lens through the neck viscera to come into contact with the ventral surface of the calcium sensor GCaMP6s-expressing IO in anesthetized mice. A representative calcium imaging recording is shown to demonstrate the feasibility to record IO neuron activity after the surgery. While this is a non-survival surgery and the recordings must be conducted under anesthesia, it avoids damage to life-critical brainstem nuclei and allows conducting large variety of experiments investigating spatiotemporal activity patterns and input integration in the IO. This procedure with modifications could be used for recordings in other, adjacent regions of the ventral brainstem.

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