Neuronal membrane potential is of fundamental importance for the mechanistic understanding of brain function. This review discusses progress in whole-cell patch-clamp recordings for low-noise measurement of neuronal membrane potential in awake behaving animals. Whole-cell recordings can be combined with two-photon microscopy to target fluorescently labeled neurons, revealing cell-type-specific membrane potential dynamics of retrogradely or genetically labeled neurons. Dual whole-cell recordings reveal behavioral modulation of membrane potential synchrony and properties of synaptic transmission in vivo. Optogenetic manipulations are also readily integrated with whole-cell recordings, providing detailed information about the effect of specific perturbations on the membrane potential of diverse types of neurons. Exciting developments for future behavioral experiments include dendritic whole-cell recordings and imaging, and use of the whole-cell recording pipette for single-cell delivery of drugs and DNA, as well as RNA expression profiling. Whole-cell recordings therefore offer unique opportunities for investigating the neuronal circuits and synaptic mechanisms driving membrane potential dynamics during behavior. In this Primer, Petersen discusses current and future applications of the whole-cell patch-clamp recording technique for studying the cellular and synaptic circuit mechanisms driving neuronal membrane potential dynamics in awake behaving animals.
Petersen, C. C. H. (2017, September 13). Whole-Cell Recording of Neuronal Membrane Potential during Behavior. Neuron. Cell Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.049