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J Biomed Opt. 2005 Jan-Feb;10(1):11003.

Optical release of caged glutamate for stimulation of neurons in the in vitro slice preparation.

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Heinrich Heine University, C & O Vogt Brain Research Institute, Institute of Anatomy II, Moorenstr. 5, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


Optical stimulation techniques prove useful to map functional inputs in the in vitro brain slice preparation: Glutamate released by a focused beam of UV light induces action potentials, which can be detected in postsynaptic neurons. The direct activation effect is influenced by factors such as compound concentration, focus depth, light absorption in the tissue, and sensitivity of different neuronal domains. We analyze information derived from direct stimulation experiments in slices from rat barrel cortex and construct a computational model of a layer V pyramidal neuron that reproduces the experimental findings. The model predictions concerning the influence of focus depth on input maps and action potential generation are investigated further in subsequent experiments where the focus depth of a high-numerical-aperture lens is systematically varied. With our setup flashes from a xenon light source can activate neuronal compartments to a depth of 200 mum below the surface of the slice. The response amplitude is influenced both by tissue depth and focus plane. Specific somatodendritic structures can be targeted as the probability of action potential induction falls off exponentially with distance. Somata and primary apical dendrites are most sensitive to uncaged glutamate with locally increased sensitivity on proximal apical dendrites. We conclude that optical stimulation can be targeted with high precision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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