Theses Doctoral

In vivo Observation of the Release of Norepinephrine and In Vivo Optical Studies on the Direct and Indirect Paths of the Striatum

Clark, Samuel

This thesis focuses on my work using optical techniques to study different brain regions in vivo. The ability to optically study neurons and the circuits they comprise in vivo is an important method to better understand their role in the healthy brain and their dysfunction in disease.
The first part of my thesis focuses on my work using on a collaborative project using a new optical probe to study norepinephrine synapses in vivo. In this work we were able to observe the effects of amphetamine on norepinephrine release in vivo and observed some evidence of potential silent synapses.
I also describe a new method of cranial window surgery I developed for optical imaging. This technique called PHASOR, is faster, and has a higher success rate, than traditional surgical methods. The improvements demonstrated in this new surgical technique may enable more widespread use of optical imaging methods.
In the second part of my thesis, I used optical techniques to study the dorsal striatum in vivo in awake behaving mice. The direct and indirect paths of the dorsal striatum play an important role in motor behavior and motor learning. Dysfunction in these paths has been implicated in motor diseases as well as in mood disorders. In this thesis, I provide a review of the anatomy and physiology of the neurons that comprise the dorsal striatum, and the circuits that they form. The next chapters describe my work using optical techniques to record from these neurons in vivo.
In my first set of experiments, I recorded from the direct and indirect paths during a behavioral task of anxiety and observed differential firing depending on the anxiety state of the mouse.
Finally, in a preliminary set of experiments, I record from the direct and indirect paths during tasks of motor learning. I found that both paths show changes in firing during motor learning and that these changes differ between the dorsolateral and dorsomedial striatum.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Neurobiology and Behavior
Thesis Advisors
Sulzer, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 21, 2018