Neurolucida Helps Scientists in Jerusalem Study Synaptic Density in Lactating Mice

A baby cries and her mother’s maternal instincts kick in. She picks her baby up, rocks her, feeds her. Changes in a new mother’s brain compel her to act in ways that ensure her baby’s survival. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are working on learning more about those changes. Their recent focus is on the olfactory bulb – a region of the brain shown to ignite maternal behavior in mice.

“As a scientist and mother I wanted to study plasticity in the maternal brain,” said Hagit Kopel a co-author of the study. “Previous studies showed that olfaction is essential for the production of normal maternal behavior. Therefore, we hypothesized that there are plastic changes in the olfactory system, which accompany the transition into motherhood.”

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University of Maryland Scientists Reconstruct Neuronal Processes in 3D with Neurolucida

University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers have used Neurolucida since it was in its embryonic stages in the 1960s. Now, nearly a half-century later, the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology continues using Neurolucida in their research, as outlined in a recent study concerning the organization of the olfactory system.

Dr. Michael Shipley and his team collaborated with scientists from Hungary and Japan on the paper “Molecular Identity of Periglomerular and Short Axon Cells,” published in the January 20 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The study involved the examination of the olfactory systems—including the olfactory sensory axons and juxtaglomerular neurons— of TH transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein.

“Neurolucida was essential for the tracing and derivation of basic morphometric parameters (length, etc.),” said co-author Dr. Adam C. Puche. The research team used Neurolucida to create 3D reconstructions of interglomerular connections, a process which aided in the determination that “different JG cell chemotypes contribute to distinct microcircuits within or between glomeruli.”

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{Image courtesy of Adam C. Puche, Ph.D., University of Maryland, School of Medicine}

Emi Kiyokage, Yu-Zhen Pan, Zuoyi Shao, Kazuto Kobayashi, Gabor Szabo, Yuchio Yanagawa, Kunihiko Obata, Hideyuki Okano, Kazunori Toida, Adam C. Puche, and Michael T. Shipley (2010), “Molecular Identity of Periglomerular and Short Axon Cells” The Journal of Neuroscience, 30(3):1185-1196

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