Investigating Drug Use: Brain Neurons

Investigating Drug Use: Brain Neurons

Video length: 1:27



Carl Lupica Speaking:

My name is Carl Lupica, I am a senior investigator and I am Chief of the Electrophysiology Research Section at NIDA.

The lab primarily works with brain slices obtained from animals that have either acutely or chronically been exposed to abused drugs and the neurons are still firing, synapses are still communicating with one another, mitochondria still working supplying energy to the cells so all the normal respiratory processes that cells go through are still occurring in these neurons for many hours after we've made these brain slices.

So the next step in the analysis is actually to attempt to identify these living neurons in the brain slices and that involves passing infrared light through the microscope and then utilizing some optical tricks to to look for neurons in these living brain slices.

Essentially we're using amplifiers to take the small signals that that all neurons generate and we're making those signals bigger so that we can then monitor them and record them on to a computer and the idea is that these neurons that shut off dopamine neurons may be involved in some of the aversive consequences that occur following the use of abused drugs.