Furthermore, voltage-sensitive dye imaging only provides information related to the superficial dorsal neocortex, and it is likely that there are many additional targets of barrel cortex axons. The remainder of this review will focus on the anatomical connectivity of the mouse barrel cortex with specific reference to axonal output from the C2 barrel column. Anatomical connectivity can be studied by directly injecting classical tracers or viral vectors (which can also be used as anatomical tracers) into the specific brain region under investigation. Intrinsic
optical imaging provides a simple way to localize the functional representation this website of the mouse C2 whisker through the intact skull (Fig. 3A; Ferezou et al., 2006; Aronoff & Petersen, 2007; Lefort et al., 2009). By aligning the intrinsic optical signal with Maraviroc research buy the surface blood vessels, a small craniotomy can be made over the C2 whisker representation in S1 barrel cortex, enabling direct injection of anatomical tracers into the C2 barrel column (Fig. 3B). Injection of a lentivirus into the functionally identified C2 whisker representation localized by intrinsic optical imaging results in labelling of neurons located in the C2 barrel column (Fig. 3C). Intrinsic optical imaging therefore provides a reliable
map of S1, allowing anatomical Tyrosine-protein kinase BLK tracers to be reliably targeted to the C2 barrel column. If biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) is injected into the cortex, it is taken up locally by neuronal cell bodies and diffuses into their dendrites and axons (Fig. 3D). Because of the biotinylation, BDA can be readily stained, providing high contrast fluorescence images. BDA is therefore an anterograde tracer which can be used to study the axonal output of a given
brain area. However, it should be noted that BDA is also to some extent taken up by axons near the injection site (especially when it is pressure-injected), meaning that there is also some labelling of axons with cells bodies (and their axonal collaterals) located far from the injection site. Such collateral labelling complicates the interpretation of BDA-labelled tissue. Fluorogold (FG) injected into the cortex is taken up by axonal boutons and transported retrogradely to the soma. FG labelling is prominent in the cytoplasm of neuronal soma located in brain regions projecting to the injection site, and FG is therefore a useful retrograde tracer. These ‘classical’ anatomical methods are now complemented by a variety of viral vector strategies for labelling (Fig. 3E and F), which may offer higher specificity for anatomical tracing and, in addition, provide the opportunity for genetic manipulation of the transduced cells.