Document Detail

Molluscan neurons in culture: shedding light on synapse formation and plasticity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22538479     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
From genes to behaviour, the simple model system approach has played many pivotal roles in deciphering nervous system function in both invertebrates and vertebrates. However, with the advent of sophisticated imaging and recording techniques enabling the direct investigation of single vertebrate neurons, the utility of simple invertebrate organisms as model systems has been put to question. To address this subject meaningfully and comprehensively, we first review the contributions made by invertebrates in the field of neuroscience over the years, paving the way for similar breakthroughs in higher animals. In particular, we focus on molluscan (Lymnaea, Aplysia, and Helisoma) and leech (Hirudo) models and the pivotal roles they have played in elucidating mechanisms of synapse formation and plasticity. While the ultimate goal in neuroscience is to understand the workings of the human brain in both its normal and diseased states, the sheer complexity of most vertebrate models still makes it difficult to define the underlying principles of nervous system function. Investigators have thus turned to invertebrate models, which are unique with respect to their simple nervous systems that are endowed with a finite number of large, individually identifiable neurons of known function. We start off by discussing in vivo and semi-intact preparations, regarding their amenability to simple circuit analysis. Despite the 'simplicity' of invertebrate nervous systems however, it is still difficult to study individual synaptic connections in detail. We therefore emphasize in the next section, the utility of studying identified invertebrate neurons in vitro, to directly examine the development, specificity, and plasticity of synaptic connections in a well-defined environment, at a resolution that it is still unapproachable in the intact brain. We conclude with a discussion of the future of invertebrates in neuroscience in elucidating mechanisms of neurological disease and developing neuron-silicon interfaces.
Nichole Schmold; Naweed I Syed
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-4-27
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of molecular histology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1567-2387     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-4-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101193653     Medline TA:  J Mol Histol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada,
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