Whole-Cell Patch-Clamp Recording

  • Matthew J. Van Hook
  • Wallace B. ThoresonEmail author
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Signaling in the nervous system is mediated by changes in voltage across the membranes of individual neurons. Understanding these bioelectrical signals—their ionic basis, modulation, information content, contributions to intercellular communication, and ways in which they encode sensory input and behavioral output—is one of the fundamental tasks of contemporary neuroscience research. A variety of approaches have been developed that enable researchers to measure and manipulate bioelectricity of individual neurons and networks of neurons—a family of experimental approaches collectively termed “electrophysiology.” In this chapter, we describe whole-cell patch-clamp recording, an electrophysiological technique that enables researchers to record membrane voltages and, by using voltage-clamp techniques, the ionic currents underlying those voltages. We provide an overview of the background and principles of whole-cell recording as well as a discussion of the basic complement of equipment including air tables, microscopes, Faraday cages, micromanipulators, recording electrodes, amplifiers and other electronics, solutions, and recording pipettes needed for these experiments. We also describe techniques for successful whole-cell recording, including a discussion of perforated patch techniques, and note potential pitfalls and issues of quality control that are key for obtaining high-quality publishable data.


Electrophysiology Patch clamp Single channel Whole cell Membrane Ion channel Perforated patch 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology and Visual SciencesUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Experimental NeuroscienceUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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