Imaging membrane potential with voltage-sensitive dyes

Biol Bull. 2000 Feb;198(1):1-21. doi: 10.2307/1542798.


Membrane potential can be measured optically using a variety of molecular probes. These measurements can be useful in studying function at the level of an individual cell, for determining how groups of neurons generate a behavior, and for studying the correlated behavior of populations of neurons. Examples of the three kinds of measurements are presented. The signals obtained from these measurements are generally small. Methodological considerations necessary to optimize the resulting signal-to-noise ratio are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Neurons / physiology


  • Fluorescent Dyes