Photobleaching and photodamage also are troublesome, although these effects are not unique to voltage imaging. These problems can be mitigated with the inherent sectioning
and lower scattering of nonlinear microscopy techniques, such as two-photon fluorescence and second-harmonic generation (SHG), but unfortunately, Osimertinib concentration new problems also arise. Two-photon absorption or SHG is much less efficient than single photon absorption, and the excitation volume small, so fewer chromophores are excited, leading to lower overall photon counts, smaller absolute signals, and, currently, higher noise. Still, for optimal precision and imaging deep into intact brain tissue, nonlinear imaging is a must, and the development of optimal two-photon or SHG active voltage sensors appears clearly necessary. In the following section we discuss common methods of voltage imaging in neuroscience,
focusing on mammalian preparations, which, to us, are where the limitations are most acute. We will not cover the history of this field or attempt to comprehensively review it. Instead, we will focus on providing examples of methods that tap into different biophysical mechanisms of voltage sensitivity. It should be stated that while some mechanisms and detection schemes theoretically allow for the absolute determination of the transmembrane voltage, in nearly all experiments, what is actually measured is the change in membrane potential ( Ehrenberg and Loew, 1993). As mentioned previously, it is important to note that voltage indicators can gain their overall sensitivity from a combination of mechanisms, Torin 1 mw each with different timescales, which complicates the calibration. However, in many cases, one particular mechanism appears to be dominant, and this dominant mechanism is typically used to describe
the chromophore. We will describe these different dominant mechanisms ( Figure 2, Table 1) and illustrate them with data from mammalian preparations, chosen as examples of the best signal to noise measurements ( Figure 3 and Figure 4). We will highlight only a few second contributions from the literature, as representatives of a large body of work that will not be explicitly cited. We will also review some limitations of these current approaches, a critical exercise that seems to us necessary to move beyond the current state of these techniques. We finish with some thoughts on how to carry out these improvements. Most efforts in voltage imaging involve the synthesis of organic chromophores that can bind to the plasma membrane. This line of work extends now for several decades, starting with invertebrate preparations, and has used chromophores for both absorption and emission (for reviews see Cohen, 1989, Cohen and Lesher, 1986, Gross and Loew, 1989 and Waggoner and Grinvald, 1977). These approaches rely on several different mechanisms of voltage sensing that are common to both absorption and fluorescence, so we will review them together.