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There has not been a major change in how neuroscientists approach stereotaxic methods in decades. Here, we present a new stereotaxic method that provides an alternative approach to a traditional u-frame stereotaxic device and reduces costs, surgical time, and aids repeatability. The RatHat brain implantation system is a 3Dprintable stereotaxic device for rats that is fabricated prior to surgery and fits to the shape of the skull. RatHat builds are directly implanted into the brain without the need for head-leveling or coordinate-mapping during surgery. The RatHat can be used in conjunction with the traditional u-frame stereotaxic device, but does not require the use of a micromanipulator for successful implantations. Each RatHat contains several primary components including the implant for mounting intracranial components, the surgical stencil for targeting drill sites, and the protective cap for preventing damage from impacts and debris. Each component serves a unique function and can be used together or separately. We demonstrate the feasibility of the RatHat in four different proof-of-principle experiments: (1) a three-pole cannula apparatus, (2) an optrode-electrode assembly, (3) a fixed-electrode array, and (4) a tetrode hyperdrive. Implants were successful, durable, and long-lasting (up to nine months). RatHat print files are easily created, can be modified in computer aided design (CAD) software for a variety of applications, and are easily shared, contributing to open science goals and replications. The RatHat has been adapted to multiple experimental paradigms in our lab and should be a useful new way to conduct stereotaxic implant surgeries in rodents.
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Allen, Leila M.; Jayachandran, Maanasa; Viena, Tatiana D.; Su, Meifung; McNaughton, Bruce L.; and Allen, Timothy A., "Rathat: A self-targeting printable brain implant system" (2020). Department of Psychology. 24.
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