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Development of a method to evaluate glutamate receptor function in rat barrel cortex slices

, : Development of a method to evaluate glutamate receptor function in rat barrel cortex slices. Metabolic Brain Disease 15(4): 305-314

The rat is a nocturnal animal and uses its vibrissae extensively to navigate its environment. The vibrissae are linked to a highly organized part of the sensory cortex, called the barrel cortex which contains spiny neurons that receive whisker specific thalamic input and distribute their output mainly within the cortical column. The aim of the present study was to develop a method to evaluate glutamate receptor function in the rat barrel cortex. Long Evans rats (90-160 g) were killed by cervical dislocation and decapitated. The brain was rapidly removed, cooled in a continuously oxygenated, ice-cold Hepes buffer (pH 7.4) and sliced using a vibratome to produce 0.35 mm slices. The barrel cortex was dissected from slices corresponding to 8.6 to 4.8 mm anterior to the interaural line and divided into rostral, middle and caudal regions. Depolarization-induced uptake of 45Ca2+ was achieved by incubating test slices in a high K+ (62.5 mM) buffer for 2 minutes at 35 degrees C. Potassium-stimulated uptake of 45Ca2+ into the rostral region was significantly lower than into middle and caudal regions of the barrel cortex. Glutamate had no effect. NMDA significantly increased uptake of 45Ca2+ into all regions of the barrel cortex. The technique is useful in determining NMDA receptor function and will be applied to study differences between spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) that are used as a model for attention deficit disorder and their normotensive control rats.


PMID: 11383555

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