Combined intracellular injection of Neurobiotin and pre-embedding immunocytochemistry using silver-intensified gold probes in myenteric neurons
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We have developed methods to examine the neurochemistry of synaptic inputs to individual myenteric neurons labeled by dye injection through intracellular recording electrodes. Myenteric neurons of the guinea-pig ileum were filled with Neurobiotin, fixed, washed in 50% ethanol, exposed to sodium cyanoborohydride, incubated in avidin-biotin-horseradish peroxidase and incubated in antisera to calretinin or calbindin. The Neurobiotin-filled cells were revealed using the diaminobenzidine (DAB) reaction. The tissue was examined at the light microscope level to determine the morphology and projections of the Neurobiotin-filled neurons, and then incubated in 1 nm gold-labeled secondary antibodies. Following osmication, the gold probes were silver-intensified and the tissue embedded flat in resin. The tissue was re-examined at the light microscope level. Neurons containing a DAB reaction product could be distinguished from neurons containing a silver-intensified gold reaction product using oblique or epipolarized illumination. Ultrathin sections were taken through the injected neurons and examined. At the ultrastructural level, Neurobiotin-filled cell bodies and their processes (labeled with DAB) were easily distinguished from the structures labeled by silver-intensified gold. Gold-labeled terminals of enteric interneurons made synapses and close contacts with Neurobiotin-filled nerve cell bodies and their processes. This technique is valuable for the neurochemical identification of synaptic inputs to morphologically and/or functionally characterized myenteric neurons and could be easily applied to other preparations, such as brain slices.
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