The design of a removable miniature microdrive-headstage waterproof assembly for extracellular recordings of single unit activity with high-impedance electrodes in swimming mice is presented. The assembly provides perfect protection of the critical components and electric contacts from water. Neuronal activity may be recorded even if the animal is diving and swimming under the water surface. The advantages of this construction include simple installation and removal of the electrodes, rapid attachment of the assembly to the animal's skull, and rapid removal after recording. The device provides precise vertical positioning of the electrode without rotation or lateral shift, stable recordings of single units for several hours and the possibility to change the penetration track many times in the same animal. The assembly weight is less than 160 mg. This work is the first successful attempt to record neuronal activity in mice performing spatial task in water maze. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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