Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in brain slices

Amir Segev, Francisco Garcia-Oscos, Saïd Kourrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Whole-cell patch-clamp recording is an electrophysiological technique that allows the study of the electrical properties of a substantial part of the neuron. In this configuration, the micropipette is in tight contact with the cell membrane, which prevents current leakage and thereby provides more accurate ionic current measurements than the previously used intracellular sharp electrode recording method. Classically, whole-cell recording can be performed on neurons in various types of preparations, including cell culture models, dissociated neurons, neurons in brain slices, and in intact anesthetized or awake animals. In summary, this technique has immensely contributed to the understanding of passive and active biophysical properties of excitable cells. A major advantage of this technique is that it provides information on how specific manipulations (e.g., pharmacological, experimenter-induced plasticity) may alter specific neuronal functions or channels in real-time. Additionally, significant opening of the plasma membrane allows the internal pipette solution to freely diffuse into the cytoplasm, providing means for introducing drugs, e.g., agonists or antagonists of specific intracellular proteins, and manipulating these targets without altering their functions in neighboring cells. This article will focus on whole-cell recording performed on neurons in brain slices, a preparation that has the advantage of recording neurons in relatively well preserved brain circuits, i.e., in a physiologically relevant context. In particular, when combined with appropriate pharmacology, this technique is a powerful tool allowing identification of specific neuroadaptations that occurred following any type of experiences, such as learning, exposure to drugs of abuse, and stress. In summary, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in brain slices provide means to measure in ex vivo preparation long-lasting changes in neuronal functions that have developed in intact awake animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere54024
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number112
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Brain slice
  • Current-clamp
  • Ex vivo
  • Intrinsic excitability
  • Issue 112
  • Neuroscience
  • Patch-clamp
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Voltage-clamp
  • Whole-cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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