Imaging membrane potential changes from dendritic spines using computer-generated holography

Dimitrii Tanese, Ju Yun Weng, Valeria Zampini, Vincent De Sars, Marco Canepari, Balazs Rozsa, Valentina Emiliani, Dejan Zecevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Electrical properties of neuronal processes are extraordinarily complex, dynamic, and, in the general case, impossible to predict in the absence of detailed measurements. To obtain such a measurement one would, ideally, like to be able to monitor electrical subthreshold events as they travel from synapses on distal dendrites and summate at particular locations to initiate action potentials. It is now possible to carry out these measurements at the scale of individual dendritic spines using voltage imaging. In these measurements, the voltagesensitive probes can be thought of as transmembrane voltmeters with a linear scale, which directly monitor electrical signals. Grinvald et al. were important early contributors to the methodology of voltage imaging, and they pioneered some of its significant results. We combined voltage imaging and glutamate uncaging using computer-generated holography. The results demonstrated that patterned illumination, by reducing the surface area of illuminated membrane, reduces photodynamic damage. Additionally, region-specific illumination practically eliminated the contamination of optical signals from individual spines by the scattered light from the parent dendrite. Finally, patterned illumination allowed one-photon uncaging of glutamate on multiple spines to be carried out in parallel with voltage imaging from the parent dendrite and neighboring spines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031211
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017


  • dendritic spines
  • glutamate uncaging
  • holography
  • voltage imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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  • Cite this

    Tanese, D., Weng, J. Y., Zampini, V., De Sars, V., Canepari, M., Rozsa, B., Emiliani, V., & Zecevic, D. (2017). Imaging membrane potential changes from dendritic spines using computer-generated holography. Neurophotonics, 4(3), [031211].