A dual acousto-optic laser scanning microscope system for the study of dendritic integration: Design, construction, and preliminary results
Master of Science
Recent research has highlighted the vital role played by dendrites in effecting the computational properties of single neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). An ultraviolet (UV) acousto-optic laser scanning microscope system was developed that enables UV laser pulses to be delivered to multiple user-selected sites in the microscope's specimen plane with high spatial (<10mum) and temporal (<20mus) resolution. By employing "caged" neurotransmitters, the system can effect physiologically realistic spatio-temporal patterns of "synaptic" stimulation to the dendrites of a single cultured neuron. This system was combined with a previously developed acousto-optic laser scanning system for fast, multi-site optical recording of electrical activity (Bullen et al. 1999). This combination---the "Dual Scanner"---allows the study of important dendritic questions such as the underlying mechanisms of spatial and temporal summation. This thesis describes several current outstanding questions of dendritic integration, the design and construction of the system, and some promising preliminary results.
Neurosciences; Electronics; Electrical engineering