High-throughput combined voltage-clamp/current-clamp analysis of freshly isolated neurons
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The patch-clamp technique is the gold-standard methodology for analysis of excitable cells. However, throughput of manual patch-clamp is slow, and high-throughput robotic patch-clamp, while helpful for applications like drug screening, has been primarily used to study channels and receptors expressed in heterologous systems. We introduce an approach for automated high-throughput patch-clamping that enhances analysis of excitable cells at the channel and cellular levels. This involves dissociating and isolating neurons from intact tissues and patch-clamping using a robotic instrument, followed by using an open-source Python script for analysis and filtration. As a proof of concept, we apply this approach to investigate the biophysical properties of voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, which are among the most diverse and complex neuronal cells. Our approach enables voltage- and current-clamp recordings in the same cell, allowing unbiased, fast, simultaneous, and head-to-head electrophysiological recordings from a wide range of freshly isolated neurons without requiring culturing on coverslips.