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Title: Ex vivo brain preparation to Analyze vocal pathways of Xenopus frogs.
Understanding the neural basis of behavior is a challenging task for technical reasons. Most methods of recording neural activity require animals to be immobilized, but neural activity associated with most behavior cannot be recorded from an anesthetized, immobilized animal. Using amphibians, however, there has been some success in developing in vitro brain preparations that can be used for electrophysiological and anatomical studies. Here, we describe an ex vivo frog brain preparation from which fictive vocalizations (the neural activity that would have produced vocalizations had the brain been attached to the muscle) can be elicited repeatedly. When serotonin is applied to the isolated brains of male and female African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis, laryngeal nerve activity that is a facsimile of those that underlie sex-specific vocalizations in vivo can be readily recorded. Recently, this preparation was successfully used in other species within the genus including Xenopus tropicalis and Xenopus victorianus. This preparation allows a variety of techniques to be applied including extracellular and intracellular electrophysiological recordings and calcium imaging during vocal production, surgical and pharmacological manipulation of neurons to evaluate their impact on motor output, and tract tracing of the neural circuitry. Thus, the preparation is a powerful tool with which more » to understand the basic principles that govern the production of coherent and robust motor programs in vertebrates. « less
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Cold Spring Harbor protocols
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National Science Foundation
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