This study is the first to demonstrate organotypic culturing of adult suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). This approach was used to obtain organotypic SCN cultures from adult vole brain with a previously determined state of behavioral circadian rhythmicity. We examined vasopressin (AVP) immunoreactivity in these organotypic slice cultures. AVP is one of the major neuropeptides produced by the SCN, the main mammalian circadian pacemaker. AVP immunoreactivity in the SCN of adult common voles in vivo has been shown to correlate with the variability in expression of circadian wheel-running behavior. Here, cultures prepared from circadian rhythmic and nonrhythmic voles were processed immunocytochemically for AVP. Whereas in all cultures AVP could be observed, AVP immunoreactivity differed considerably between vole SCN cultures. SCN cultures from rhythmic voles contained significantly lower numbers of AVP immunoreactive (AVPir) cells per surface area than cultures from nonrhythmic voles. The correlation between timing of behavior and AVP immunoreactivity in vitro is similar to the correlation found earlier in vivo. Apparently, such correlation depends on intrinsic AVP regulation mechanisms of SCN tissue, and not on neural or hormonal input from the environment, as present in intact brain.
- circadian wheel running
- common vole (Microtus arvalis)
- organotypic slice culture
- suprachiasmatic nucleus
- SLICE CULTURES