Processing rodent brain tissues: review of basic anatomical techniques for scientists with minimal knowledge of neuroanatomy
An understanding of brain structure, how to harvest rodent brain samples and the various histological procedures to follow is imperative in conducting researches in neuroscience especially for beginners. The general brain aversion bias and complexity of studying the brain, poses a real challenge in identifying and understanding its anatomy either grossly or microscopically. Therefore, this review attempts to provide a basic explanation for researchers with little knowledge of neuroanatomy but are interested in processing brain tissues ranging from opening the skull of the rodents, harvesting freshly perfused or unperfused brain, weighing of the brain and identifying various landmarks on the brainstem, cerebellum, and cerebrum. This review further provides a clue to the various anatomical landmarks in the brain and the functional role each structure identified in such landmarks play. Since most of the brain cytoarchitecture is viewed microscopically, knowing the appropriate staining techniques that clearly show the desired brain cell or region in question is important in determining various neuropathologies as well as in conducting various pilot studies on the brain. This review therefore provides a solid foundation for researchers who are not too familiar with the brain but need to conduct various studies on it.
Keywords: brain, histological procedures, anatomical landmarks, staining techniques, cytoarchitecture, fixation