Transparent brains reveal effects of cocaine and fear

Posted on November 21, 2014



A technique that makes mouse brains transparent shows how the entire brain responds to cocaine addiction and fear. The findings could uncover new brain circuits involved in drug response.

In the technique, known as CLARITY, brains are infused with acrylamide, which forms a matrix in the cells and preserves their structure along with the DNA and proteins inside them. The organs are then treated with a detergent that dissolves opaque lipids, leaving the cells completely clear.

To test whether CLARITY could be used to show how brains react to stimuli, neuroscientists Li Ye and Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University in California engineered mice so that their neurons would make a fluorescent protein when they fired. (The system is activated by the injection of a drug.) The researchers then trained four of these mice to expect a painful foot shock when placed in a particular box; another set of mice placed in the box received cocaine, rather than shocks.

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Category(s):Drug Addiction

Source material from Nature


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