Dynamic Clamp in Cardiac and Neuronal Systems Using RTXI

  • Francis A. Ortega
  • Robert J. Butera
  • David J. Christini
  • John A. White
  • Alan D. DorvalIIEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1183)


The injection of computer-simulated conductances through the dynamic clamp technique has allowed researchers to probe the intercellular and intracellular dynamics of cardiac and neuronal systems with great precision. By coupling computational models to biological systems, dynamic clamp has become a proven tool in electrophysiology with many applications, such as generating hybrid networks in neurons or simulating channelopathies in cardiomyocytes. While its applications are broad, the approach is straightforward: synthesizing traditional patch clamp, computational modeling, and closed-loop feedback control to simulate a cellular conductance. Here, we present two example applications: artificial blocking of the inward rectifier potassium current in a cardiomyocyte and coupling of a biological neuron to a virtual neuron through a virtual synapse. The design and implementation of the necessary software to administer these dynamic clamp experiments can be difficult. In this chapter, we provide an overview of designing and implementing a dynamic clamp experiment using the Real-Time eXperiment Interface (RTXI), an open-source software system tailored for real-time biological experiments. We present two ways to achieve this using RTXI’s modular format, through the creation of a custom user-made module and through existing modules found in RTXI’s online library.

Key words

Dynamic clamp RTXI Cardiac electrophysiology Neural electrophysiology Neuronal networks Artificial conductance block Reciprocal neuronal coupling 



This work was supported by NIH R01 RR020115 (to D.J.C., R.J.B., and J.A.W.). We thank R.J. Lin for invaluable programming assistance, and F.R. Fernandez for helpful comments regarding this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis A. Ortega
    • 1
  • Robert J. Butera
    • 2
    • 3
  • David J. Christini
    • 4
  • John A. White
    • 5
  • Alan D. DorvalII
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Greenberg Division of CardiologyWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Electrical and Computer EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Greenberg Division of Cardiology, Institute for Computational BiomedicineWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Bioengineering, Brain InstituteUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  6. 6.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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