A method to measure the effective spread of focally injected muscimol into the central nervous system with electrophysiology and light microscopy

J Neurosci Methods. 2002 Jul 30;118(1):51-7. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0270(02)00143-7.


A method was developed to quantitate the volume of brain inactivated by muscimol focally injected. Tritiated muscimol was injected into the cerebellum and closely spaced sequential microelectrode recordings made at different depths by penetrations in an X-Y pattern centered at the injection site to evaluate changes in spontaneous activity in the tissue volume. Animals were euthanized after survivals from 40 min to 6 h, the cerebellum sectioned in the sagittal plane, and the sections dried onto glass slides. The slides were dipped in photographic emulsion, exposed in the dark and developed. Silver grain densities were quantitated by light microscopy from measured standards. The extent and concentration of bound, labeled muscimol co-varied with the observed reduction in recorded spontaneous activity. For future studies, the distribution and density of silver grains alone can serve as an accurate spatial indicator of the area of muscimol inactivation at high spatial resolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology / methods*
  • Female
  • GABA Agonists / administration & dosage
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Muscimol / administration & dosage
  • Muscimol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • GABA Agonists
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Muscimol