- Top of page
- The Biological Basis for Extracellular Slow Wave Recordings
- ‘Expected Kinetics’ of Extracellular Recordings
- Variability in Extracellular Slow Wave Morphology
- Filtering of Extracellular Recordings
- Artifacts and Extracellular Recordings
- In Vitro Recording Methodologies
- Are Intracellular and Extracellular Frequencies ‘Mismatched’?
- ‘Spike’ Activity and Extracellular Recordings
- Conflicts of Interest
- Author Contributions
Extracellular electrical recordings underpin an important literature of basic and clinical motility science. In the November 2011 edition of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Sanders and colleagues reported that contraction artifacts could be recorded from in vitro murine gastric tissues using extracellular electrodes, and that true extracellular bioelectrical activity could not be detected when the contractions were suppressed. The authors interpret their findings to mean that previous extracellular studies have generally assayed contraction artifacts, rather than bioelectrical activity, and suggest that movement suppression is an obligatory control for extracellular experiments. If their interpretation is correct, these claims would be significant, requiring a reinterpretation of many studies, and posing major challenges for future in vivo and especially clinical work. However, a demonstration that motion artifacts can be recorded from murine in vitro tissue does not necessarily mean that other extracellular studies also represented artifacts. This viewpoint evaluates a recently published by Sanders and colleagues in light of the competing literature, and finds a considerable volume of evidence to support the veracity of GI extracellular electrical recordings. It is reasoned from biophysical principles, technical considerations, and experimental studies that motion artifacts cannot explain GI extracellular electrical recordings in general, and that bioelectrical fact and artifact can be readily and reliably distinguished in most contexts. Calls for obligatory motion suppression for extracellular studies are therefore not supported. However, the artifacts recorded by Sanders and colleagues nevertheless serve as a reminder that educated caution is needed when recording, filtering and interpreting extracellular data.