Visualizing the effects of a positive early experience, tactile stimulation, on dendritic morphology and synaptic connectivity with Golgi-cox staining.

Richelle Mychasiuk, Robbin Gibb, Bryan Kolb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To generate longer-term changes in behavior, experiences must be producing stable changes in neuronal morphology and synaptic connectivity. Tactile stimulation is a positive early experience that mimics maternal licking and grooming in the rat. Exposing rat pups to this positive experience can be completed easily and cost-effectively by using highly accessible materials such as a household duster. Using a cross-litter design, pups are either stroked or left undisturbed, for 15 min, three times per day throughout the perinatal period. To measure the neuroplastic changes related to this positive early experience, Golgi-Cox staining of brain tissue is utilized. Owing to the fact that Golgi-Cox impregnation stains a discrete number of neurons rather than all of the cells, staining of the rodent brain with Golgi-Cox solution permits the visualization of entire neuronal elements, including the cell body, dendrites, axons, and dendritic spines. The staining procedure is carried out over several days and requires that the researcher pay close attention to detail. However, once staining is completed, the entire brain has been impregnated and can be preserved indefinitely for ongoing analysis. Therefore, Golgi-Cox staining is a valuable resource for studying experience-dependent plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number79
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

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