Patch clamping is the gold standard measurement technique for cell-type characterization in vivo, but it has low throughput, is difficult to scale, and requires highly skilled operation. We developed an autonomous robot that can acquire multiple consecutive patch-clamp recordings in vivo. In practice, 40 pipettes loaded into a carousel are sequentially filled and inserted into the brain, localized to a cell, used for patch clamping, and disposed. Automated visual stimulation and electrophysiology software enables functional cell-type classification of whole cell-patched cells, as we show for 37 cells in the anesthetized mouse in visual cortex (V1) layer 5. We achieved 9% yield, with 5.3 min per attempt over hundreds of trials. The highly variable and low-yield nature of in vivo patch-clamp recordings will benefit from such a standardized, automated, quantitative approach, allowing development of optimal algorithms and enabling scaling required for large-scale studies and integration with complementary techniques. NEW & NOTEWORTHY In vivo patch-clamp is the gold standard for intracellular recordings, but it is a very manual and highly skilled technique. The robot in this work demonstrates the most automated in vivo patch-clamp experiment to date, by enabling production of multiple, serial intracellular recordings without human intervention. The robot automates pipette filling, wire threading, pipette positioning, neuron hunting, break-in, delivering sensory stimulus, and recording quality control, enabling in vivo cell-type characterization.
- In vivo
- Layer 5
- Patch clamp
- Visual cortex
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.