Website Search
ID 1110

Electrophysiology - Techniques (2)

Professor Tom O'Dell introduces some of the advanced techniques used to examine the electrical activity of brain cells.
The techniques that are used for recording from cells happen at many, many different levels. Many of the techniques that are used now – some of the techniques that are used to record population responses from groups of cells, so called extracellular recordings, or even extracellular recording from individual cells – those are techniques that have been around since the fifties and sixties, and are still an important component of contemporary laboratories. Those are still important, obviously, but there are many other techniques that have come along since then. One very important technique is called whole cell recording. In that technique, a single class microelectrode can be positioned or placed onto the membrane of the cell. Under the right conditions, one can record individually from just that single neuron. That allows one to do many, many experiments and to record at a resolution that one would never have been able to do with some of these older techniques. Some of the more recent approaches are using, again, extracellular recordings, but doing them in sort of a massive array that allows one not only to study a small population of maybe 10, or 20, or 50 cells at a time, or one at a time, but hundreds of neurons at a time. Even in awake and behaving animals, so that we can look at a vast array of neurons and see what they are doing during certain behavioral tasks, or under different sensory conditions. In other words, to get a way to look at a large population code of sensory experience, or cognitive activity in the brain. So the techniques that one uses runs the gamut from things that are very old (sort of coarse but still very useful) to newer techniques that are much finer in resolution, but then also other techniques that are much broader and give us a bigger picture of activity in the brain.
electrophysiology, technique, recording, electrode, microelectrode, single, cell, neuron, electrical, tom, o'dell, dell
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

1111. Multiple Electrode Arrays
Professor Tom O'Dell explains how multiple electrode arrays are being used to study electrical activity in the brain.
1104. Electrophysiology - Techniques (1)
Professor Tom O'Dell describes different techniques for studying the physiology of the nervous system.
1103. Electrophysiology in Research
Professor Tom O'Dell discusses the importance of electrophysiology to the study of cognition.
1108. Synaptic Plasticity (1)
Professor Tom O'Dell discusses synaptic plasticity - the strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections between neurons.
1106. Phosphorylation and Synaptic Plasticity
Professor Tom O'Dell comments that phosphorylation plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity.
1105. Phosphorylation
Professor Tom O'Dell defines phosphorylation - the addition of a phosphate group to a protein molecule to regulate gene function.
1107. Depotentiation
Professor Tom O'Dell defines depotentiation - the erasure of long-term potentiation (LTP) at the synapse.
1109. NMDA Receptors, Multi-protein Complexes, & LTP
Professor Tom O'Dell describes the role played by NMDA receptors, as part of a large multi-protein complex, in facilitating long-term potentiation (LTP).
928. Recording Electrical Activity in Brain Slices
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute demonstrate how action potentials are recorded from brain slices, and how long-term potentiation is measured.
873. Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings measure electrical activity in the brain that is the result of electrochemical signaling between neurons.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving