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Methods Mol Med. 2006;123:71-89.

Localization of cannabinoid CB1 receptor mRNA using ribonucleotide probes: methods for double- and single-label in situ hybridization.

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Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, USA.


This chapter presents a reliable, detailed method for performing double-label in situ hybridization (ISH) that has been validated for use in studies identifying the co-localization of cannabinoid CB1 receptor mRNA with other distinct species of mRNAs. This method permits simultaneous detection of two different species of mRNA within the same tissue section. Double-label ISH may be accomplished by hybridizing tissue sections with a combination of radiolabeled and digoxigenin-labeled RNA probes that are complementary to their target mRNAs. Single-label ISH may be accomplished by following the procedures described for use with radioisotopic probes (here [35S]-labeled) only. Silver grains derived from conventional emulsion autoradiography are used to detect the radiolabeled cRNA probe. An alkaline phosphatase-dependent chromogen reaction product is used to detect the nonisotopic (here, digoxigenin-labeled) cRNA probe. Necessary controls that are required to document the specificity of the labeling of the digoxigenin and radiolabeled probes are described. The methods detailed herein may be employed to detect even low levels of a target mRNA. These methods may be utilized to study co-localization and coregulation of expression of a particular gene within identified neurons in multiple systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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