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Nature. 2009 Oct 15;461(7266):930-9. doi: 10.1038/nature08540.

Electrophysiology in the age of light.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0634, USA.


Electrophysiology, the 'gold standard' for investigating neuronal signalling, is being challenged by a new generation of optical probes. Together with new forms of microscopy, these probes allow us to measure and control neuronal signals with spatial resolution and genetic specificity that already greatly surpass those of electrophysiology. We predict that the photon will progressively replace the electron for probing neuronal function, particularly for targeted stimulation and silencing of neuronal populations. Although electrophysiological characterization of channels, cells and neural circuits will remain necessary, new combinations of electrophysiology and imaging should lead to transformational discoveries in neuroscience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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