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J Neurosci Methods. 2006 Sep 15;155(2):260-71. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

A decerebrate, artificially-perfused in situ preparation of rat: utility for the study of autonomic and nociceptive processing.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Bristol Royal Infirmary, University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK.


By extending established technology, we have developed a relatively simple in situ preparation from juvenile rat that overcomes some technical restrictions present in vivo (e.g. need for anaesthesia, mechanical instability for intracellular recording and control over the extracellular milieu). The in situ preparation is decerebrate and artificially perfused via the left ventricle with a colloid containing solution. It exhibits an eupneic pattern of respiratory motor activity and demonstrates numerous somatic and visceral reflexes including those evoked by stimulation of the tail, hindlimbs, bladder, baroreceptors and peripheral chemoreceptors. We have employed this preparation to allow recordings from multiple sympathetic motor outflows such as thoracic and lumbar chain, inferior cardiac, splanchnic, renal and adrenal nerves. We show that the sympathetic motor discharge shows strong respiratory modulation and exhibits pronounced reflex modulation indicating intact communication between the periphery, the brainstem and the spinal cord. Further, we have made extracellular and whole cell recordings from neurones in the spinal cord, demonstrating good mechanical stability. The decerebrate, artificially-perfused rat (DAPR) provides a powerful methodology with which to study peripheral and central control of the autonomic nervous system with many of the benefits of an in vitro environment.

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