We have developed a method allowing suitable morphological conservation combined with in situ hybridization, on hippocampal slices used in conventional electro- physiological studies. After a bath application of kainate (KA, 750 nM, 2 min 15 s), electrical stimulation of the mossy fibre zone evoked epileptiform activity for up to 2 h. In situ hybridization performed on these slices showed a marked increased in expression of the transcription factor Zif/268 over the pyramidal and the granule cells and the surrounding neuropils. Bath application of tetraethyl- ammonium (TEA, 25 mM, 10 min) elicited long-term potentiation in CA1 lasting up to 4 h. This was associated with enhanced expression of Zif/268 which returned to control values after 2 h 30 min. These observations suggest that slice preparations are suitable for the study of the role of neuronal activity in the regulation of gene expression.
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