A simple pressure injection technique was developed to deliver substances into specific regions of the embryonic and neonatal mouse brain in vivo. The retrograde tracers Fluorogold and cholera toxin B subunit were used to test the validity of the technique. Injected animals survived the duration of transport (24-48 h) and then were sacrificed and perfused with fixative. Small injections (≤ 50 nL) were contained within targeted structures of the perinatal brain and labeled distant cells of origin in several model neural pathways. Traced neural pathways in the perinatal mouse were further examined with immunohistochemical methods to test the feasibility of double labeling experiments during development. Several experimental situations in which this technique would be useful are discussed, for example, to label projection neurons in slice or culture preparations of mouse embryos and neonates. The administration of pharmacological or genetic vectors directly into specific neural targets during development should also be feasible. An examination of the form of neural pathways during early stages of life may lead to insights regarding the functional changes that occur during critical periods of development and provide an anatomic basis for some neurodevelopmental disorders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Grants NS-047399 and NS-059199, and by the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.