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Ulivi, Alessandro F.; Castello-VValdow, Tim P.; Weston, Ghabiba; Yan, Long; Yasuda, Ryohei; Chen, Alon and Attardo, Alessio (2019): Longitudinal Two-Photon Imaging of Dorsal Hippocampal CA1 in Live Mice. In: Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, No. 148, e59598

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Two-photon microscopy is a fundamental tool for neuroscience as it permits investigation of the brain of live animals at spatial scales ranging from subcellular to network levels and at temporal scales from milliseconds to weeks. In addition, two-photon imaging can be combined with a variety of behavioral tasks to explore the causal relationships between brain function and behavior. However, in mammals, limited penetration and scattering of light have limited two-photon intravital imaging mostly to superficial brain regions, thus precluding longitudinal investigation of deep-brain areas such as the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in spatial navigation and episodic memory and is a long-standing model used to study cellular as well as cognitive processes important for learning and recall, both in health and disease. Here, a preparation that enables chronic optical access to the dorsal hippocampus in living mice is detailed. This preparation can be combined with two-photon optical imaging at cellular and subcellular resolution in head fixed, anesthetized live mice over several weeks. These techniques enable repeated imaging of neuronal structure or activity-evoked plasticity in tens to hundreds of neurons in the dorsal hippocampal CA1. Furthermore, this chronic preparation can be used in combination with other techniques such as micro-endoscopy, head-mounted wide field microscopy or three-photon microscopy, thus greatly expanding the toolbox to study cellular and network processes involved in learning and memory.

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