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Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2003 Aug;Chapter 6:Unit 6.17. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0617s23.

Imaging nervous system activity with voltage-sensitive dyes.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Optical recording with a voltage-sensitive dye is advantageous where membrane potential must be recorded in many sites at once. This unit describes methods for making voltage-sensitive dye measurements on different preparations to study (1) how a neuron integrates its synaptic input into its action potential output by measuring membrane potential everywhere synaptic input occurs and where spikes are initiated; (2) how a nervous system generates a behavior in Aplysia abdominal ganglion; and (3) responses to sensory stimuli and generation of motor output in the vertebrate brain by simultaneous measurement of population signals from many areas. The approach is three-pronged: (1) find the dye with the largest signal-to-noise ratio; (2) reduce extraneous sources of noise; and (3) maximize the number of photons measured to reduce the relative shot noise. A discussion of optical recording methods including the choice of dyes, light sources, optics, cameras, and minimizing noise is also provided.

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