Patch Pipettes (Micropipettes)
Joining an established electrophysiology laboratory typically means that the micropipette fabrication process has already been perfected allowing newcomers to be trained without a complete understanding of how the current method was developed. This chapter looks to fill that knowledge gap by discussing available micropipette options and fabrication methods currently used for in vitro electrophysiology (e.g., inside-out, outside-out, whole-cell, cell-attached, and sharp-electrode patches). We also discuss the importance of the micropipette’s shape in relation to the in vitro electrophysiology model used (e.g., tissue slice, cell culture, dissociated neurons). For laboratories setting-up electrophysiology equipment, we have provided information regarding tools needed for pulling micropipettes as well as post-pulling fabrication processes (e.g., fire polishing). Finally, we discuss micropipette drift, which can occur during electrophysiological recordings accompanied by a micropipette-drift troubleshooting guide. Surprisingly, the process of micropipette fabrication can play a significant role in data collection. With this in mind, we anticipate by the end of this chapter that the reader will have the information necessary to fabricate the appropriate micropipette for their desired electrophysiology preparation allowing for successful data collection.
Key wordsMicropipette fabrication Micropipette equipment Micropipette resistance Electrode holders Pipette drift
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