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Methods. 2000 Aug;21(4):335-47.

Dual video microscopic imaging of membrane potential and cytosolic calcium of immunoidentified embryonic rat cortical cells.

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Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Membrane potential (MP) and cytosolic Ca2+ (Ca2+(c)) constitute important components involved in the physiological regulation of a myriad of cell functions in eukaryotic organisms. In particular, during development of the central nervous system, both properties are thought to be important in the regulation of cell cycle, cell migration, cell differentiation, cell-cell communication, and naturally occurring cell death. However, obtaining insight into the precise relationship between these two parameters of cell function is relatively limited either by technical difficulties inherent in using electrical recordings of membrane properties in conjunction with optical imaging of single cells or by employing optical imaging of either one or another property alone. Here, we describe in detail a novel strategy to record changes in both MP and Ca2+(c) from many intact single cells in a noninvasive manner using digital video microscopy. This method involves double-loading the cells with voltage- and calcium-sensitive fluorescent indicator dyes, green oxonol, and fura-2, which can be sequentially excited with a mercury arc lamp filtered at appropriate wavelengths and their resulting emissions can be captured with an intensified charged-coupled device camera at 1-s intervals. As an example of the utility of dual-recording strategy, we present data on a distinct functional expression of excitable membrane and cytoplasmic calcium properties in proliferating and differentiating embryonic rat cerebral cortical cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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