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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CCD imaging of the electrical activity in the leech nervous system.

A single ganglion of the nervous system of the leech Hirudo medicinalis was isolated. One or both roots emerging from each side of the ganglion were sucked into suction pipettes used either for extracellular stimulation or for recording the gross electrical activity. The ganglion was stained with the fluorescence voltage sensitive dye Di-4-Anepps. The fluorescence was measured with a nitrogen cooled CCD camera. Our recording system allowed us to measure in real time slow optical signals corresponding to changes in light intensity of at least 5/1000. These signals were caused by the direct polarization of neuronal structures, the afterhyperpolarization or the afterdischarge induced by a prolonged stimulation. When images were acquired at fixed times, several of them could be averaged and optical signals of at least 2/1000 could be reliably measured. These optical signals originated from well identified neurons, such as T, P and N sensory neurons. By taking images at different times and at different focal planes, electrical events could be followed at a temporal resolution of 50 Hz. The three dimensional dynamics of electrical events, initiated by a specific stimulation, was imaged and the spread of excitation among leech neurons was followed. When two roots were selectively stimulated, their neuronal interactions could be imaged and the linear and non-linear terms of the interaction could be characterized.[1]


  1. CCD imaging of the electrical activity in the leech nervous system. Canepari, M., Campani, M., Spadavecchia, L., Torre, V. Eur. Biophys. J. (1996) [Pubmed]
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