Picking mouse brains

27 06 2015

Last week I ordered several hundred dollars worth of immunoglobulins and other stuff to stain for ‘delta fos B’: a marker of long-term neuronal activation that Danielle and I hope will identify parts of the basal ganglia involved in mouse stereotypic behaviour.

This was nerve-wracking as the university is a complicated place to deliver to (as it was the parcels accidentally arrived with two different addresses on them: horribly risky), and I had visions of them sitting on a loading dock heating up in the sun (something that happened to a load of frozen mink brains Maria and I once sent to Florida, and it ruined them). It was also a surreal experience, as one of the items was Picking micegoat serum: very witchy (I nearly insisted the goat was black).

Next step was to pick the specific brains most suited to address this question (non-stereotypers who differ in SB, one per cage to avoid pseudoreplication; we can’t use enriched mice as a control as they did too much wheel-running and this activates similar areas to those we’re interested in); to also pick differential wheel-runners who will help us validate the staining; and then from the leftovers, to pick some ‘practice brains’ for Danielle to refine the basic techniques on. She’s already emailed several labs for their protocols so we should be OK, but IHC seems a tricky and idiosyncratic business (‘works best when bench oriented north-south’: that sort of weirdness).