Imaging the Dynamics of Mammalian Neocortical Population Activity In-Vivo

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;859:243-71. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-17641-3_10.


Neural computations underlying sensory perception, cognition and motor control are performed by populations of neurons at different anatomical and temporal scales. Few techniques are currently available for exploring dynamics of local and large range populations. Voltage-sensitive dye imaging (VSDI) reveals neural population activity in areas ranging from a few tens of microns to a couple of centimeters, or two areas up to ~10 cm apart. VSDI provides a sub-millisecond temporal resolution, and a spatial resolution of about 50 μm. The dye signal emphasizes subthreshold synaptic potentials. VSDI has been applied in the mouse, rat, gerbil, ferret, tree shrew, cat and monkey cortices, in order to explore lateral spread of retinotopic or somatotopic activation, the dynamic spatiotemporal pattern resulting from sensory activation, including the somatosensory, olfactory, auditory, and visual modalities, as well as motor preparation and the properties of spontaneously-occurring population activity. In this chapter we focus on VSDI in-vivo and review results obtained mostly in the visual system in our laboratory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Waves / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Macaca
  • Microelectrodes
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Nerve Net / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Optical Devices
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging / instrumentation
  • Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging / methods*


  • Fluorescent Dyes