A microprobe for parallel optical and electrical recordings from single neurons in vivo

Nat Methods. 2011 Apr;8(4):319-25. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1572. Epub 2011 Feb 13.


Recording electrical activity from identified neurons in intact tissue is key to understanding their role in information processing. Recent fluorescence labeling techniques have opened new possibilities to combine electrophysiological recording with optical detection of individual neurons deep in brain tissue. For this purpose we developed dual-core fiberoptics-based microprobes, with an optical core to locally excite and collect fluorescence, and an electrolyte-filled hollow core for extracellular single unit electrophysiology. This design provides microprobes with tips < 10 μm, enabling analyses with single-cell optical resolution. We demonstrate combined electrical and optical detection of single fluorescent neurons in rats and mice. We combined electrical recordings and optical Ca²(+) measurements from single thalamic relay neurons in rats, and achieved detection and activation of single channelrhodopsin-expressing neurons in Thy1::ChR2-YFP transgenic mice. The microprobe expands possibilities for in vivo electrophysiological recording, providing parallel access to single-cell optical monitoring and control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation*
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Fiber Optic Technology / instrumentation*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optical Devices*
  • Rats


  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins