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Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1183:309-26. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1096-0_20.

Dynamic clamp as a tool to study the functional effects of individual membrane currents.

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Health Innovations Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Today, the patch-clamp technique is the main technique in electrophysiology to record action potentials or membrane current from isolated cells, using a patch pipette to gain electrical access to the cell. The common recording modes of the patch-clamp technique are current clamp and voltage clamp. In the current clamp mode, the current injected through the patch pipette is under control while the free-running membrane potential of the cell is recorded. Current clamp allows for measurements of action potentials that may either occur spontaneously or in response to an injected stimulus current. In voltage clamp mode, the membrane potential is held at a set level through a feedback circuit, which allows for the recording of the net membrane current at a given membrane potential.A less common configuration of the patch-clamp technique is the dynamic clamp. In this configuration, a specific non-predetermined membrane current can be added to or removed from the cell while it is in free-running current clamp mode. This current may be computed in real time, based on the recorded action potential of the cell, and injected into the cell. Instead of being computed, this current may also be recorded from a heterologous expression system such as a HEK-293 cell that is voltage-clamped by the free-running action potential of the cell ("dynamic action potential clamp"). Thus, one may directly test the effects of an additional or mutated membrane current, a synaptic current or a gap junctional current on the action potential of a patch-clamped cell. In the present chapter, we describe the dynamic clamp on the basis of its application in cardiac cellular electrophysiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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