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Article Title

MAPPING OF THE SPINAL CIRCUITRY ASSOCIATED WITH PAW WITHDRAWAL LEARNING IN SPINAL MICE

Abstract

MAPPING OF THE SPINAL CIRCUITRY ASSOCIATED WITH PAW WITHDRAWAL LEARNING IN SPINAL MICE

Raefsky, S.M., Joseph, S.M., Xiao, M.S., Hornak, A.J., Kim, J.A., Tillakaratne, N.J.K. and Edgerton, V.R.

Affiliation: 1University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 1University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

PURPOSE: The overall goal of this project was to identify the neural circuitry involved in paw withdrawal learning (PaWL) in complete spinal cord transected (ST) mice. METHODS: Pseudo rabies virus (PRV)-Bartha 152 was injected into the tibialis anterior (TA), the primary muscle involved in this learning. The use of PRV, a trans synaptic retrograde marker, allowed labeling of the TA Moto neurons and its associated interneurons in the spinal cord. By combining PRV-Bartha 152 with c-fos (an activity-dependent marker) and CaMKII (a learning-associated marker), the activated Moto neurons and interneurons that were associated with spinal learning were identified. RESULTS: Of all PRV+ labeled neurons, 21% were Moto neurons and found only on the ipsilateral side of the spinal cord (same side where learning occurred). Sixty-five percent of the labeled interneurons were found on the ipsilateral side of the spinal cord and 14% were found on the contralateral side. A majority (~60%) of the interneurons and Moto neurons on the ipsilateral side were activated during PaWL. CONCLUSION: Overall, activated PRV+ interneurons that were also positive for CaMKII were mostly located in laminae VI-VII, suggesting that the neural circuitry involved in PaWL occurred in these regions.

Supported by the Neilsen Foundation (JAK), Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (VRE), Kirby Foundation (VRE), Walk About Foundation (VRE), and a University of Puget Sound 2013 Summer Research Grant.

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