. Automated whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo. Nat Methods. 2012 May 6; PubMed.


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  1. Whole-cell patch-clamp has been a mainstay neuroscience tool for decades, but is generally only performed in vitro. The few groups that have gotten this to work in vivo have completed near-heroic efforts. While the robot methodology will probably be challenging to set up the first time (like any complicated technique would be), it seems that the continued use of such an approach would be easier and less cumbersome than doing in-vivo patching manually. The ability to do several animals at one time is also appealing.

    In the setting of disease models, in-vivo patch-clamp will be powerful. The Alzheimer's field has battled to understand the role that Aβ has on synaptic transmission and plasticity. A big limitation for us so far has been the lack of physiological techniques and types of Aβ. In-vivo patch-clamping will be one great way to answer some fundamental questions in the setting of intact neuronal networks and plaques. I think the possibilities here are very exciting!

    View all comments by John Cirrito

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  1. Research Brief: Robots Trained in Patch-Clamp Experiments