Whole-Cell Patch-Clamp Recordings

  • Harald Sontheimer
  • Michelle L. Olsen
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 38)


The patch-clamp recording technique measures ionic currents under a voltage clamp and was designed to study small patches of membrane in which near-perfect control of the transmembrane voltage can be readily achieved. Today, this technique is most frequently used to examine currents across entire cells. This application defies many of the original design requirements, such as small size and near-perfect voltage control. Nevertheless, whole-cell recordings are routinely used to characterize current flow through ionic channels, neurotransmitter receptors, and electrogenic transporters in cell types of virtually any origin. Since its introduction in 1981 (Hamill et al., 1981), patch-clamp recordings have essentially replaced sharp electrode recordings, particularly in the study of cultured cells and more recently in brain slice recordings.


Series Resistance Reversal Potential Voltage Clamp Voltage Step Current Trace 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Sontheimer
    • 1
  • Michelle L. Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurobiologyUniversity of AlabamaBirmingham

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