Functional study of the rat cortical microcircuitry with voltage-sensitive dye imaging of neocortical slices. Academic Article uri icon


  • The computations performed within cortex are likely to be determined by its internal dynamics in addition to its pattern of afferent input. As a step toward characterizing these dynamics, we have imaged electrical activity in slices from rat primary visual cortex stained with the voltage-sensitive dye di-4-ANEPPS. In response to electrical stimulation two fluorescence signals of similar maximum amplitude are elicited, (i) A fast signal that peaks in a few milliseconds, is dependent on membrane voltage, and has a significant presynaptic component. This signal can be used to image electrical activity ratiometrically. (ii) A slow signal that peaks a few seconds after stimulation, does not reflect voltage changes, and may originate from changes in scattering properties of the slice and from interactions of the dye with the cells. The spatial pattern of fast signals obtained in response to focal stimulation of coronal slices is consistent with known interlaminar projection patterns. In tangential slices, imaging of fast signals reveals clustered horizontal responses. Finally, imaging of fast signals during epileptiform activation of the disinhibited circuit reveals propagating responses, without evidence for modular activation.

publication date

  • September 1997