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Imaging Sodium Flux during Action Potentials in Neurons with Fluorescent Nanosensors and Transparent Microelectrodes

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journal contribution
posted on 25.10.2018, 16:41 by Guoxin Rong, Eric H. Kim, Yi Qiang, Wenjun Di, Yiding Zhong, Xuanyi Zhao, Hui Fang, Heather A. Clark
Sodium flux plays a pivotal role in neurobiological processes including initiation of action potentials and regulation of neuronal cell excitability. However, unlike the wide range of fluorescent calcium indicators used extensively for cellular studies, the choice of sodium probes remains limited. We have previously demonstrated optode-based nanosensors (OBNs) for detecting sodium ions with advantageous modular properties such as tunable physiological sensing range, full reversibility, and superb selectivity against key physiological interfering ion potassium. Motivated by bridging the gap between the great interest in sodium imaging of neuronal cell activity as an alternative to patch clamp and limited choices of optical sodium indicators, in this Letter we report the application of nanosensors capable of detecting intracellular sodium flux in isolated rat dorsal root ganglion neurons during electrical stimulation using transparent microelectrodes. Taking advantage of the ratiometric detection scheme offered by this fluorescent modular sensing platform, we performed dual color imaging of the sensor to monitor the intracellular sodium currents underlying trains of action potentials in real time. The combination of nanosensors and microelectrodes for monitoring neuronal sodium dynamics is a novel tool for investigating the regulatory role of sodium ions involved during neural activities.