Techniques in neuroscience in jove.com

The present method allows reproducible cryostat sectioning of small, difficult-to-manage, tissue pieces, such as biopsies and brain slices. We utilize a simple aluminum freezing stage to facilitate handling of tissue and a standard cryostat to routinely produce 5-10 micron serial sections from 400 micron thick brain slices.

In http://www.jove.com


Interview to Wolf Singer
Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute

Why is the neuroscience expanding? What is the result of your research? Large amount of data: effect on neuroscience. Self-organization, emergence and complexity. Brain repair: possibilities and limitations. Theory in the contemporary neuroscience

In www.jove.com


A interesting blog about neuroscience questions, technical or experimental suggestions, and perhaps a good site to discusse ideas of our work as neuroscientists. Visit Neurodudes.

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 326. May 2008 | doi:10.1038/nrn2381
The ventral tegmental area contains two distinct types of dopaminergic neuron.

Dopamine is a versatile neurotransmitter that has a role in movement and many aspects of cognition. Lammel et al. have now characterized two types of neurons in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system that are not only anatomically segregated, with non-overlapping axonal target regions, but that also have distinct molecular and functional properties. This structured diversity of the dopamine midbrain system might contribute to the multiplicity of dopamine functions in the CNS.
Dopamine pathways in the brain are generally divided into the well-characterized mesostriatal system, which originates in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and projects to the dorsal striatum, and the mesocorticolimbic system, which starts in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and projects to the frontal cortex and limbic areas including the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens (NAc). By retrogradely tracing mesocorticolimbic dopamine neurons, the authors established that dopamine projections in the medial prefrontal cortex, the basolateral amygdala and the core and medial shell of the NAc originate in the medial posterior part of the VTA, whereas dopamine projections to the lateral shell of the NAc originate in the more lateral portions of the VTA and the medial part of the SNc.

Lammel, S. et al. Unique properties of mesoprefrontal neurons within a dual mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. Neuron 57, 760–773 (2008). Pubmed

Kranick SM, & Duda JE. Olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease. Neurosignals. 2008; 16(1): 35-40.

Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Prior to the onset of the cardinal motor features of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD), other manifestations of neurodegeneration such as olfactory dysfunction are often apparent. Characterizing these potential biomarkers of preclinical PD is particularly important in identifying individuals who will go on to develop disabling symptoms, and thus be good candidates for new neuroprotective strategies. As shown by the Braak neuropathologic staging of PD, the olfactory system is among the first neuronal populations to display Lewy body pathology. Clinically, loss of smell can be easily tested in the office using several validated techniques and is often helpful to the physician in distinguishing idiopathic PD from other forms of parkinsonism. Recent findings have indicated that a decline in olfaction may be observed in selected at-risk patients, which has significant implications for identifying potential study populations. Ongoing studies of olfactory dysfunction may also reveal potential for use as a medication-independent biomarker of disease progression in addition to use as a biomarker for the diagnosis of PD.

Pubmed link

A new study points to rare gene duplications and deletions that are believed to play a significant role in the psychological disorder
By Nikhil Swaminathanin Scientific American

A new study indicates that the genetic culprits behind schizophrenia may be much less common than previously believed. Researchers report this week in Science that a rare but devastating change in one of several different genes may dramatically increase the risk of developing the debilitating brain disorder affecting 1 percent of the world’s population and marked by psychotic behavior, hallucinations and delusions. Until now, most scientists believed that it was likely that a cluster of relatively common genetic mutations was to blame.

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 78. February 2008

A single action potential in a single neuron can induce a behavioral response.

Conventional wisdom holds that the brain analyses patterns of activity in multiple cortical neurons in order to interpret incoming stimuli; however, the question of how many neurons must be active in order to generate a perception has remained unresolved. Two new studies indicate that the neural code that underlies sensory perceptions might be sparser than previously estimated and that activity in single neurons can contribute significantly to behavioural responses.