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In vivo patch-clamp recording from locus coeruleus neurones in the rat brainstem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2225-2231
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number10
Early online date13 Apr 2012
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2012
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2012


Locus coeruleus (LC) neurones extend noradrenergic projections throughout the neuroaxis and are involved in homeostatic functions such as pain modulation, arousal and cardio-respiratory control. To address the cellular mechanisms underlying pain modulation we have developed a patch-clamp recording technique from LC neurones in anaesthetized rats. These recordings showed LC discharge in vivo to be driven by both spontaneous membrane potential oscillations and CNQX-sensitive EPSCs opposed by bicuculine-sensitive IPSCs. Hindlimb pinch evoked a biphasic action potential response underpinned by a slow monophasic excitatory current. This approach allows detailed characterisation of the synaptic and integrative mechanisms of LC responses to naturalistic stimulation.


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