Patch-Clamp Capacitance Measurements

Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Not only electrical conductance but also electrical capacitance of the cell membrane can be measured by patch-clamp techniques. Exocytotic events can be detected by recording changes in membrane capacitance. The membrane capacitance, which reflects the surface area of the plasma membrane, increases during an exocytotic process by fusion of secretory granules to the plasma membrane. In this chapter, we describe the patch-clamp method for measuring capacitance.


Direct Current Secretory Granule Series Resistance Capacitance Measurement Capacitance Change 



We thank Andreas Neef and Raunak Sinha for their comments.


  1. 1.
    Neher E, Marty A (1982) Discrete changes of cell membrane capacitance observed under conditions of enhanced secretion in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79:6712–6716PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lindau M, Neher E (1988) Patch-clamp technique for time-resolved capacitance measurements in single cells. Pflugers Arch 411:137–146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gillis KD (1995) Techniques for membrane capacitance measurements. In: Sakmann B, Neher E (eds) Single channel recording, 2nd edn. Plenum Press, New York, pp 155–198Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sakmann B, Neher E (1995) Single-channel recording, 2nd edn. Plenum Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Okada Y, Hazama A, Hashimoto A, Maruyama Y, Kubo M (1992) Exocytosis upon osmotic swelling in human epithelial cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 1107:201–205PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Maruyama Y (1988) Agonist-induced changes in cell membrane capacitance and conductance in dialysed pancreatic acinar cells of rats. J Physiol 406:299–313PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Maruyama Y, Petersen OHP (1994) Delay in granular fusion evoked by repetitive cytosolic Ca2+ spikes in mouse pancreatic acinar cells. Cell Calcium 16:419–430PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Maruyama Y (1996) Selective activation of exocytosis by low concentration of ACh in rat pancreatic acinar cells. J Physiol 492:807–814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fidler N, Fernandez JM (1989) Phase tracking: an improved phase detection technique for cell membrane capacitance measurements. Biophys J 56:1153–1162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rohlicek V, Schmid A (1994) Dual frequency method for synchronous measurement of cell capacitance, membrane conductance and access resistance on single cells. Pflugers Arch 428:30–38PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hallermann S, Pawlu C, Jonas P, Heckmann M (2003) A large pool of releasable vesicles in a cortical glutamatergic synapse. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:8975–8980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yamashita T, Hige T, Takahashi T (2005) Vesicle endocytosis requires dynamin-dependent GTP hydrosis at a fast CNS synapse. Science 307:124–127PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Haller M, Heinemann C, Chow RH, Heidelberger R, Neher E (1998) Comparison of secretory responses as measured by membrane capacitance and by amperometry. Biophys J 74:2100–2113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takeshi Sakaba
    • 1
  • Akaihiro Hazama
    • 2
  • Yoshio Maruyama
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Brain ScienceDoshisha UniversityKizugawaJapan
  2. 2.Fukushima Medical UniversityFukushimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations