Electrophysiology - Techniques (1)
Professor Tom O'Dell describes different techniques for studying the physiology of the nervous system.
In our experiments, when we are interested in studying the electrophysiology, or the physiology of the nervous system, basically we study the electrical activity of neurons. When neurons are active, they generate electrical signals. And those signals in turn, code information, but also pass information on to other cells. So, we use a lot of very sophisticated electrical techniques that allow us to monitor these minute electrical signals that are associated with single cells. That then enables us to get a window, a picture, of what the cells are doing â€“ how theyâ€™re encoding the information and then transmitting that information. Often, what we do is to use pieces of the brain, thin slices of the brain, that we keep alive in a dish and monitor the electrical activity of those cells over time. We can also do things where we have cells that are kept alive for very long periods of time â€“ in culture, or in thicker pieces of tissue as well. In those sorts of reduced preparations, where we have isolated circuits, or groups of cells, that allows us to study the elementary properties of the electrical activity of those cells, which is so crucial to what they normally do in the brain.
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Professor Tom O'Dell introduces some of the advanced techniques used to examine the electrical activity of brain cells.
Professor Tom O'Dell discusses the importance of electrophysiology to the study of cognition.
Professor Tom O'Dell explains how multiple electrode arrays are being used to study electrical activity in the brain.
Professor Tom O'Dell discusses synaptic plasticity - the strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections between neurons.
Professor Tom O'Dell comments that phosphorylation plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity.
Professor Tom O'Dell defines phosphorylation - the addition of a phosphate group to a protein molecule to regulate gene function.
Professor Tom O'Dell defines depotentiation - the erasure of long-term potentiation (LTP) at the synapse.
Professor Tom O'Dell describes the role played by NMDA receptors, as part of a large multi-protein complex, in facilitating long-term potentiation (LTP).
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute demonstrate how action potentials are recorded from brain slices, and how long-term potentiation is measured.
It is increasingly clear that the nonneuronal brain cells called glia are intricately involved in the neuronal crosstalk at synapses.