Planarians are well-known model organisms for regeneration and developmental biology research due to their remarkable regenerative capacity. Here we aim to advocate for the use of planaria as a valuable model for neurobiology, as well. Planarians have most of the major qualities of more developed organisms, including a primal brain. These traits combined with their exceptional regeneration capabilities, allow neurobiological experiments not possible in any other model organism, as we demonstrate by electrophysiological recording from planaria with two heads that controlling a shared body. To facilitate planarian neuroscience research, we developed an extracellular multi-unit recording procedure for the planarians fragile brain (Dugesia japonica). We created a semi-intact preparation restrained with fine dissection pins, enabling hours of reliable recording, via a suction electrode. Here we demonstrate the feasibility and potential of planarian neurophysiological research by characterizing the neuronal activity during simple learning processes and responses to various stimuli. In addition, we examined the use of linalool as anesthetic agent to allows recordings from an intact, large worm and for fine electrophysiological approaches such as intracellular recording. The demonstrated ability for neurophysiological measurements, along with the inherent advantages of planarians, promotes this exceptional model organism for neuroscience research.

This content is only available via PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview