Patch clamp electrophysiology experiments typically use an intracellular solution that mimics the ionic concentrations of neuronal cytosol. At the same time, the extracellular solution is meant to mimic cerebrospinal fluid. If these two sets of ion concentrations are similar to their in vivo physiological values, then one might expect a patch-clamped neuron to also have physiological ionic reversal potentials. If, on the other hand, they are dissimilar, then we might expect the behavior of the patched neuron (for example its intrinsic excitability or synaptic currents) to be different from the behavior of the same neuron in vivo. In principle, one would like to use solutions that are as close as possible to physiological for this type of experiment.
My question is: how do we know what these physiological values (concentrations or reversal potentials) really are? It is easy to find these values in a textbook, but I would like to know what original research was performed to determine these values in the first place.
In many patch clamp experiments, the solutions are designed to set the reversal potentials to non-physiological values, or are otherwise constrained by the practicalities of the experiment. Let's consider these issues to be outside the scope of this question.