Surface electrodes record and label brain neurons in insects.

Kostarakos, Konstantinos 

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We used suction electrodes to reliably record the activity of identified ascending auditory interneurons from the anterior surface of the brain in crickets. Electrodes were gently attached to the sheath covering the projection area of the ascending interneurons and the ringlike auditory neuropil in the protocerebrum. The specificity and selectivity of the recordings were determined by the precise electrode location, which could easily be changed without causing damage to the tissue. Different nonauditory fibers were recorded at other spots of the brain surface; stable recordings lasted for several hours. The same electrodes were used to deliver fluorescent tracers into the nervous system by means of electrophoresis. This allowed us to retrograde label the recorded auditory neurons and to reveal their cell body and dendritic structure in the first thoracic ganglion. By adjusting the amount of dye injected, we specifically stained the ringlike auditory neuropil in the brain, demonstrating the clusters of cell bodies contributing to it. Our data provide a proof that surface electrodes are a versatile tool to analyze neural processing in small brains of invertebrates.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show that surface suction electrodes can be used to monitor the activity of auditory neurons in the cricket brain. They also allow delivering electrophoretically a fluorescent tracer to label the structure of the recorded neurons and the local neuropil to which the electrode was attached. This new extracellular recording and labeling technique is a versatile and useful method to explore neural processing in invertebrate sensory and motor systems.

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auditory neurons, brain, electrophoretic staining, single cell recordings, suction electrodes, Acoustic Stimulation, Action Potentials, Animals, Auditory Perception, Brain, Electrodes, Female, Fluorescent Dyes, Gryllidae, Neuroanatomical Tract-Tracing Techniques, Neurons, Restraint, Physical, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
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J Neurophysiol
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American Physiological Society
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/J01835X/1)