Improved data processing for optical imaging of developing neuronal connectivity in the neonatal mouse barrel cortex

Brain Res Brain Res Protoc. 2001 Jun;7(2):103-14. doi: 10.1016/s1385-299x(01)00048-4.


Optical recording methods using voltage-sensitive dyes have proven valuable for the analysis of neuronal networks both in vivo and in vitro. This technique detects membrane potential changes as changes in the absorption or fluorescence of voltage-sensitive dyes incorporated into the cellular plasma membranes. The reliability of the optical recording technique is dependent on the dye-related response being fast enough to follow the electrical activity and of the response being more or less proportional to the amplitude of the membrane potential change. A high spatial resolution can be achieved using an appropriate imaging system and a dye with a response of sufficiently high signal-to-noise ratio. Thus, it is now anticipated that this method will be able to shed more light on the spatio-temporal information processing of neocortical circuitry. While the FUJIX HR Deltaron 1700 optical imaging system offers a reasonably high time (0.6 ms) and space-resolution (7 microm at 10x magnification), one drawback of this system, however, is its relatively poor data processing capabilities. We have therefore developed a protocol to improve the signal-to-noise ratio by modifying the calculation algorithm of the optical data. Consequently, we characterized optical responses in thalamocortical slices to find developmental landmarks of thalamocortical and intracortical connectivity in the neonatal mouse barrel cortex. Successful application of this method has been published on the analysis of thalamocortical glutamatergic connectivity [8].

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Coloring Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Electrophysiology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Mice
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / growth & development
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Thalamus / cytology*
  • Thalamus / growth & development


  • Coloring Agents
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate