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Nat Protoc. 2009;4(8):1103-12. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2009.91. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

Voltage-clamp and current-clamp recordings from mammalian DRG neurons.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Stark Neurosciences Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


We provide here detailed electrophysiological protocols to study voltage-gated sodium channels and to investigate how wild-type and mutant channels influence firing properties of transfected mammalian dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings permit us to analyze kinetic and voltage-dependence properties of ion channels and to determine the effect and mode of action of pharmaceuticals on specific channel isoforms. They also permit us to analyze the role of individual sodium channels and their mutant derivatives in regulating firing of DRG neurons. Five to ten cells can be recorded daily, depending on the extent of analysis that is required. Because of different internal solutions that are used in voltage-clamp and current-clamp recordings, only limited information can be obtained from recording the same neuron in both modes. These electrophysiological studies help to elucidate the role of specific channels in setting threshold and suprathreshold responses of neurons, under normal and pathological conditions.

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