Standard Article

Calcium Imaging in Neuroscience

  1. Florian B Neubauer,
  2. Jason N MacLean

Published Online: 15 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021391



How to Cite

Neubauer, F. B. and MacLean, J. N. 2010. Calcium Imaging in Neuroscience. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2010


Calcium imaging uses fluorescent indicator molecules to monitor changes of intracellular free calcium concentrations. Calcium imaging is employed to examine electrically excitable tissues such as muscle and neuronal tissue (including glia) where membrane-related electrical activity is tightly coupled to significant calcium movements into or within cells. In the context of neuroscience research, calcium imaging can be applied at many scales, ranging from a single part of a single neuron to populations of many interconnected neurons. The ability to move between different scales of resolution is a major advantage of calcium imaging, making this technique an important tool for enhancing our understanding of the brain.

Key concepts

  • Brain researchers use calcium imaging to monitor electrical activity in neurons.

  • Calcium can be imaged at many scales: from the subcellular to entire brain regions.

  • Calcium imaging can use different dyes and optical methods.


  • neuroscience;
  • neurophysiology;
  • optical calcium imaging;
  • calcium indicator;
  • calcium dye