chapter  7
Flavoprotein Fluorescence Imaging of Experience- Dependent Cortical Plasticity in Rodents
Pages 28

References .............................................................................................................. 213

In this chapter, avoprotein uorescence imaging is described, with a focus on transcranial imaging for investigating experience-dependent plasticity in mice. The molecular mechanisms underlying higher brain functions are important subjects of neuroscience research. The cerebral cortex, which is expected to have essential roles in higher functions, has mainly been investigated in primates. However, the analytical methods for elucidating molecular mechanisms in the primate brain are rather limited. An alternative approach is to investigate higher cortical functions in rodents. In particular, mice are very useful for investigating molecular mechanisms, because many genetically manipulated strains are available. However, the cortical functions of rodents can not be studied intensively, partly because the cortex is fragile, and electrophysiological analysis is sometimes difcult. In contrast, mice have thin skulls that are transparent enough to allow transcranial imaging of the cortical activities through the intact skull (Schuett et al. 2002, Shibuki et al. 2007). Auditory, visual, and somatosensory cortices are visible through the intact skull (Figure 7.1A). Transcranial analysis of cortical functions has a number of technical merits: the operation to remove the skull is omitted so that surgical damages on the cortex can be avoided, and the fragile cortex of mice is kept intact within the skull during the recording experiments. Optical imaging of cortical activities usually requires experimental skills, whereas the transcranial imaging of the mouse cortical activities may be performed even by beginner neuroscientists or students.