Electrophysiological Properties of Neurons: Current-Clamp Recordings in Mouse Brain Slices and Firing-Pattern Analysis

Bio Protoc. 2021 Jun 20;11(12):e4061. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4061.

Abstract

Characterization of an electrically active cell, such as a neuron, demands measurement of its electrical properties. Due to differences in gene activation, location, innervation patterns, and functions, the millions of neurons in the mammalian brain are tremendously diverse in their membrane characteristics and abilities to generate action potentials. These features can be measured with a patch-clamp technique in whole-cell current-clamp configuration followed by detailed post-hoc analysis of firing patterns. This analysis can be time-consuming, and different laboratories have their own methods to perform it, either manually or with custom-written scripts. Here, we describe in detail a protocol for firing-pattern registration in neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) as an example and introduce a software for its fast and convenient analysis. With the help of this article, other research groups can easily apply this method and generate unified types of data that are comparable between brain regions and various studies. Graphic abstract: Workflow of the Protocol.

Keywords: Action potential; Acute brain slices; Automated firing pattern analysis; Current-clamp; Patch-clamp; Single-cell electrophysiology; Ventral tegmental area.