Development of an ex vivo method for multi-unit recording of microbiota-colonic-neural signaling in real time

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Buckley, Maria M.
O'Malley, Dervla
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Frontiers Media SA
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Background and Objectives: Bidirectional signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain is vital for maintaining whole-body homeostasis. Moreover, emerging evidence implicates vagal afferent signaling in the modulation of host physiology by microbes, which are most abundant in the colon. This study aims to optimize and advance dissection and recording techniques to facilitate real-time recordings of afferent neural signals originating in the distal colon. New Protocol: This paper describes a dissection technique, which facilitates extracellular electrophysiological recordings from visceral pelvic, spinal and vagal afferent neurons in response to stimulation of the distal colon. Examples of Application: Focal application of 75 mM KCl to a section of distal colon with exposed submucosal or myenteric nerve cell bodies and sensory nerve endings evoked activity in the superior mesenteric plexus and the vagal nerve. Noradrenaline stimulated nerve activity in the superior mesenteric plexus, whereas application of carbachol stimulated vagal nerve activity. Exposure of an ex vivo section of distal colon with an intact colonic mucosa to peptidoglycan, but not lipopolysaccharide, evoked vagal nerve firing. Discussion: Previous studies have recorded vagal signaling evoked by bacteria in the small intestine. The technical advances of this dissection and recording technique facilitates recording of afferent nerve signals evoked in extrinsic sensory pathways by neuromodulatory reagents applied to the distal colon. Moreover, we have demonstrated vagal afferent activation evoked by bacterial products applied to the distal colonic mucosa. This protocol may contribute to our understanding of functional bowel disorders where gut-brain communication is dysfunctional, and facilitate real-time interrogation of microbiota-gut-brain signaling.
Vagus , Microbiota-gut-brain axis , Extracellular electrophysiology , Microdissection , Distal colon
Buckley, M. M. and O'Malley, D. (2018) 'Development of an ex vivo method for multi-unit recording of microbiota-colonic-neural signaling in real time', Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12, 112 (8pp). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00112