Measuring Reversal Potentials

  • Nicholas GrazianeEmail author
  • Yan Dong
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 112)


The reversal potential refers to the membrane potential at which the current changes its flowing direction. For electrophysiological measurements, the change in direction can either mean inward currents becoming outward currents at a specific voltage or vice versa. Using reversal potential measurements allows the experimenter to determine ion specificity of a receptor/channel as well as the driving force of ions through the receptor/channel at a given voltage. For example, if the reversal potential measured for a given channel is close the reversal potential for K+, it is likely that the receptor/channel is predominantly permeable to K+. This chapter discusses the approaches that can be used to measure the reversal potentials of the isolated currents. In addition, we discuss technical considerations that can enhance the accuracy of the measurements.

Key words

Current–voltage plot Voltage step Voltage ramp Conductance 


  1. 1.
    Walz W, Boulton AA, Baker GB (2002) Patch-clamp analysis: advanced techniques. Humana Press, Totowa, NJGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Axon Instruments (1993) The Axon guide for electrophysiology & biophysics laboratory techniques. Axon Instruments, Foster City, CAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroscience DepartmentUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations