Friction-based stabilization of juxtacellular recordings in freely moving rats

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jul;108(2):697-707. doi: 10.1152/jn.00910.2011. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Virtually nothing is known about the activity of morphologically identified neurons in freely moving mammals. Here we describe stabilization and positioning techniques that allow juxtacellular recordings from labeled single neurons in awake, freely moving animals. This method involves the use of a friction-based device that allows stabilization of the recording pipette by friction forces. Friction is generated by a clamplike mechanism that tightens a sliding pipette holder to a preimplanted pipette guide. The interacting surfaces are smoothed to optical quality (<5-nm roughness) to enable micrometer stepping precision of the device during operation. Our method allows recordings from identified neurons in freely moving animals, and thus opens new perspectives for analyzing the role of identified neurons in the control of behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Friction
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar