Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology

, Volume 48, Issue 7, pp 804–812 | Cite as

New Approaches in Cognitive Neurobiology: Methods of Molecular Marking and Ex Vivo Imaging of Cognitively Active Neurons

  • Kh. M. Saidov
  • K. V. AnokhinEmail author

This review addresses the potentials of current methods of molecular ex vivo imaging of neurons involved in episodes of cognitive activity in experimental animals. We describe the principles on which the molecular identification of neurons activated in cognitive tasks are based, special attention being paid to the molecular marking of neuron activity in a single brain during two different cognitive episodes. Methods for double molecular labeling using in situ fluorescence hybridization (catFISH) are described in detail, along with approaches using transgenic animal strains to label neurons involved in cognitive activity via expression of fluorescent proteins within them (the tTA-tetO and TRAP Cre-loxP systems). The main advantages and disadvantages of these approaches are considered. Typical experimental schemes are presented which require specific aspects of working with these methods. A brief review of methods in which they are used to study the neural basis of cognitive activity in different behavioral tasks is presented. The potentials for the development of these approaches for studies of the cellular bases of higher brain functions are discussed.


cognitive activity learning memory brain neurons microscopy c-fos in situ hybridization catFISH transgene fluorescent protein tTA-tetO Cre-loxP 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Center Kurchatov InstituteMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Anokhin Research Institute of Normal PhysiologyMoscowRussia

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