Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 977–985 | Cite as

High-fidelity patch-clamp recordings from neurons cultured on a polymer microchip

  • Dolores MartinezEmail author
  • Christophe Py
  • Mike W. Denhoff
  • Marzia Martina
  • Robert Monette
  • Tanya Comas
  • Collin Luk
  • Naweed Syed
  • Geoff Mealing


We present a polymer microchip capable of monitoring neuronal activity with a fidelity never before obtained on a planar patch-clamp device. Cardio-respiratory neurons Left Pedal Dorsal 1 (LPeD1) from mollusc Lymnaea were cultured on the microchip’s polyimide surface for 2 to 4 hours. Cultured neurons formed high resistance seals (gigaseals) between the cell membrane and the surface surrounding apertures etched in the polyimide. Gigaseal formation was observed without applying external force, such as suction, on neurons. The formation of gigaseals, as well as the low access resistance and shunt capacitance values of the polymer microchip resulted in high-fidelity recordings. On-chip culture of neurons permitted, for the first time on a polymeric patch-clamp device, the recording of high fidelity physiological action potentials. Microfabrication of the hybrid poly(dimethylsiloxane)—polyimide (PDMS-PI) microchip is discussed, including a two-layer PDMS processing technique resulting in minimized shrinking variations.


Planar patch-clamp Microfluidic Neurons Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Polyimide Action potential 







Left Pedal Dorsal 1


access resistance – shunt capacitance


scanning electron microscope


atomic force microscope



The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge the technical support of Allan Horner and Robert Trepanier for Plexiglas packages fabrication, Hue Tran for metallization, Jeff Fraser for scanning electron microscopy imaging and Raluca Movileanu for AFM data. Naweed Syed was supported by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) grant. Collin Luk is the recipient of NSERC and Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) studentships.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dolores Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christophe Py
    • 1
  • Mike W. Denhoff
    • 1
  • Marzia Martina
    • 2
  • Robert Monette
    • 2
  • Tanya Comas
    • 2
  • Collin Luk
    • 3
  • Naweed Syed
    • 3
  • Geoff Mealing
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Microstructural SciencesNational Research Council of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Biological SciencesNational Research Council of CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Hotchkiss Brain InstituteUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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