In Vivo Calcium Imaging of Neuronal Ensembles in Networks of Primary Sensory Neurons in Intact Dorsal Root Ganglia

John Shannonhouse, Ruben Gomez, Hyeonwi Son, Yan Zhang, Yu Shin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ca2+ imaging can be used as a proxy for cellular activity, including action potentials and various signaling mechanisms involving Ca2+ entry into the cytoplasm or the release of intracellular Ca2+ stores. Pirt-GCaMP3-based Ca2+ imaging of primary sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in mice offers the advantage of simultaneous measurement of a large number of cells. Up to 1,800 neurons can be monitored, allowing neuronal networks and somatosensory processes to be studied as an ensemble in their normal physiological context at a populational level in vivo. The large number of neurons monitored allows the detection of activity patterns that would be challenging to detect using other methods. Stimuli can be applied to the mouse hindpaw, allowing the direct effects of stimuli on the DRG neuron ensemble to be studied. The number of neurons producing Ca2+ transients as well as the amplitude of Ca2+ transients indicates sensitivity to specific sensory modalities. The diameter of neurons provides evidence of activated fiber types (non-noxious mechano vs. noxious pain fibers, Aβ, Aδ, and C fibers). Neurons expressing specific receptors can be genetically labeled with td-Tomato and specific Cre recombinases together with Pirt-GCaMP. Therefore, Pirt-GCaMP3 Ca2+ imaging of DRG provides a powerful tool and model for the analysis of specific sensory modalities and neuron subtypes acting as an ensemble at the populational level to study pain, itch, touch, and other somatosensory signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64826
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume2023
Issue number192
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience

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