by Henneberger C Rusakov DA, Nature Protocols 7, 2171–2179 (2012)
Julien Hering, PhD's insight:
[Abstract] Rapid signal exchange between astroglia and neurons has emerged as a key player in neural communication in the brain. To understand the mechanisms involved, it is often important to have access to individual astrocytes while monitoring the activity of nearby synapses. Achieving this with standard electrophysiological tools is not always feasible. The protocol presented here enables the monitoring of synaptic activity using whole-cell current-clamp recordings from a local astrocyte. This approach takes advantage of the fact that the low input resistance of electrically passive astroglia allows extracellular currents to pass through the astrocytic membrane with relatively little attenuation. Once the slice preparation is ready, it takes ∼30 min to several hours to implement this protocol, depending on the experimental design, which is similar to other patch-clamp techniques. The technique presented here can be used to directly access the intracellular medium of individual astrocytes while examining synapses functioning in their immediate proximity.
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