Voltage clamping with a single microelectrode.
A technique is described which allows neurons to be voltage clamped with a single microelectrode, and the advantages of this circuit with respect to conventional bridge techniques are discussed. In this circuit, the single microelectrode is rapidly switched from a current passing to a recording mode. The circuitry consists of: (1) an electronic switch; (2) a high impedance, ultralow input capacity amplifier; (3) a sample-and-hold module; (4) conventional voltage clamping circuitry. The closed electronic switch allows current to flow through the electrode. The switch then opens, and the electrode is in a recording mode. The low input capacity of the preamplifier allows the artifact from the current pulse to rapidly abate, after which time the circuit samples the membrane potential. This cycle is repeated at rates up to 10 kHz. The voltage clamping amplifier senses the output of the sample-and-hold module and adjusts the current pulse amplitude to maintain the desired membrane potential. The system was evaluated in Aplysia neurons by inserting two microelectrodes into a cell. One electrode was used to clamp the cell and the other to independently monitor membrane potential at a remote location in the soma.
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