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Calcium imaging

Published in Scanners and Imaging.

Calcium imaging is a microscopy technique to optically measure the calcium (Ca2+) status of an isolated cell, tissue or medium. Calcium imaging takes advantage of calcium indicators, fluorescent molecules that respond to the binding of Ca2+ ions by fluorescence properties. Two main classes of calcium indicators exist: chemical indicators and genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECI). This technique has allowed studies of calcium signalling in a wide variety of cell types. In neurons, electrical activity is always accompanied by an influx of Ca2+ ions. Thus, calcium imaging can be used to monitor the electrical activity in hundreds of neurons in cell culture or in living animals, which has made it possible to dissect the function of neuronal circuits.