Recently developed transversal newborn rat brainstem slices with "calibrated" rostrocaudal margins unraveled novel features of rhythmogenic inspiratory active pre-Bötzinger complex (preBötC) neural networks (Ballanyi and Ruangkittisakul, 2009). For example, slice rhythm in physiological (3 mM) superfusate K(+) is depressed by modestly raised Ca²(+) and restored by raised K(+). Correspondingly, we generated here calibrated preBötC slices from commonly used newborn C57BL/6 mice in which rostrocaudal extents of respiratory marker structures, e.g., the inferior olive, turned out to be smaller than in newborn rats. Slices of 400-600 μm thickness with likely centered preBötC kernel ("m-preBötC slices") generated rhythm in 3 mM K(+) and 1mM Ca(2+) for several hours although its rate decreased to < 5 bursts/min after >1 h. Rhythm was stable at 8-12 bursts/min in 6-7 mM K(+), depressed by 2 mM Ca²(+), and restored by 9 mM K(+). Our findings provide the basis for future structure-function analyses of the mouse preBötC, whose activity depends critically on a "Ca(+)/K(+) antagonism" as in rats.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.