Potential sensitive dyes
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Several styryl dyes were tested as fast optical probes of membrane action potentials in mammalian heart muscle tissue. After staining, atrial specimens were superfused in physiological salt solution, and fluorescence was excited by an argon ion laser. Excitation spot size on the surface of the preparation was 60 μm in diameter. Dyes RH 160, RH 237, and RH 421 performed excellently as fast fluorescent probes of cardiac membrane potential. Fractional fluorescence changes, ΔF/F, due to the action potential were in the range 2 to 6% at 514.5 nm excitation. Rise times of the action potential onset detected with each of the dyes were less than 0.5 ms, which is as fast or even faster than microelectrode measurements (atria of the rat). Thus membrane potential changes could be monitored with high resolution in both time and space. Emission spectra from heart muscle preparations stained with these dyes were shifted to shorter wavelengths by 70 nm and more as compared to spectra of the dyes in ethanol solution. The fluorescence spectrum of RH 160 at resting potential and the spectrum recorded during the plateau phases of the action potential were measured and showed no difference within the spectral resolution. As can be concluded from measurements of fluorescence changes at different excitation wavelengths, electrochromism cannot be the only mechanism causing the potential response.
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