The method paper on the turtle preparation that Rune Berg and I developed is now out. Title and abstract below.
Although it is known that the generation of movements is performed to a large extent in neuronal circuits located in the spinal cord, the involved mechanisms are still unclear. The turtle as a model system for investigating spinal motor activity has advantages, which far exceeds those of model systems using other animals. The high resistance to anoxia allows for investigation of the fully developed and adult spinal circuitry, as opposed to mammals, which are sensitive to anoxia and where using neonates are often required to remedy the problems. The turtle is mechanically stable and natural sensory inputs can induce multiple complex motor behaviors, without the need for application of neurochemicals. Here, we provide a detailed protocol of how to make the adult turtle preparation, also known as the integrated preparation for electrophysiological investigation. Here, the hind-limb scratch reflex can be induced by mechanical sensory activation, while recording single cells, and the network activity, via intracellular-, extracellular- and electroneurogram recordings. The preparation was developed for the studies by Petersen et al. (2014) and Petersen and Berg (2016), and other ongoing studies. [pdf]