In vivo, low-resistance, whole-cell recordings from neurons in the anaesthetized and awake mammalian brain

Pflugers Arch. 2002 Jul;444(4):491-8. doi: 10.1007/s00424-002-0831-z. Epub 2002 Apr 17.


A blind patch-clamp technique for in vivo whole-cell recordings in the intact brain is described. Recordings were obtained from various neuronal cell types located 100-5,000 microm from the cortical surface. Access resistance of recordings was as low as 10 M Omega but increased with recording depth and animal age. Recordings were remarkably stable and it was therefore possible to obtain whole-cell recordings in awake, head-fixed animals. The whole-cell configuration permitted rapid dialysis of cells with a calcium buffer. In most neurons very little ongoing action potential (AP) activity was observed and the spontaneous firing rates were up to 50-fold less than what has been reported by extracellular unit recordings. AP firing in the brain might therefore be far sparser than previously thought.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Consciousness
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrophysiology
  • Mice
  • Microelectrodes
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vibrissae / innervation