Brain Stereotaxic Injection

  • Jingdong ZhangEmail author
  • Huangui Xiong
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


The brain is a precisely organized and compact structure that controls a majority of bodily functions. Precise identification of function related structures is extremely important in neuroscience research. Achievement of this goal would not have been possible without the stereotaxic delivery system. This chapter recalls the history of the stereotaxic instrument and development of system applications. In addition, we use the rat coordinate atlas and stereotaxic instrument as an example and introduce practicable procedures for application of this system in the following sequence: (1) How to read a rat brain atlas with stereotaxic coordinates and determine coordinates for a targeted brain structure. The reference points, bregma, lambda, and interaural line, are interpreted in this section. Identify what parameters in the atlas refer to sagittal, medial–lateral, and anterior–posterior coordinates. In addition, calculate an angled delivery coordinate to avoid damaging any large blood vessel in the brain. (2) How to correctly mount a rat on the instrument and position an electrode or delivery pipette based on coordinates obtained or calculated from the atlas. In this procedure, the head of a rat must first be reliably mounted on the head holder; then actual coordinates for a reference point (bregma, lambda, or interaural line) are required. Theoretically, all should be “0,” but actually not. The actual parameters of a reference point are the number displayed on instrument bars when the tip of the needle aimed at the reference point. (3) The methods of injection include pressure injection, iontophoresis, and dry crystal delivery. The key point for pressure injection is to conduct it quite slowly and keep the micropipette or needle in situ for quite a while after injection. Similarly in iontophoresis delivery, do not withdraw the electrode immediately out of the place after injection. In dry crystal delivery section, a new device for stereotaxic delivery of crystal into deep structures of the brain is introduced. However, online index has not shown any commercial availability of this kind of device.


Brain atlas with stereotaxic coordinates Stereotaxic reference points Stereotaxic instruments Stereotaxic positioning of delivery pipette Pressure or iontophoresis injection 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Experimental NeuroscienceUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center, Durham Research CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Experimental NeuroscienceUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center, Durham Research CenterOmahaUSA

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