A calibration-free electrode compensation method

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Nov;108(9):2629-39. doi: 10.1152/jn.01122.2011. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


In a single-electrode current-clamp recording, the measured potential includes both the response of the membrane and that of the measuring electrode. The electrode response is traditionally removed using bridge balance, where the response of an ideal resistor representing the electrode is subtracted from the measurement. Because the electrode is not an ideal resistor, this procedure produces capacitive transients in response to fast or discontinuous currents. More sophisticated methods exist, but they all require a preliminary calibration phase, to estimate the properties of the electrode. If these properties change after calibration, the measurements are corrupted. We propose a compensation method that does not require preliminary calibration. Measurements are compensated offline by fitting a model of the neuron and electrode to the trace and subtracting the predicted electrode response. The error criterion is designed to avoid the distortion of compensated traces by spikes. The technique allows electrode properties to be tracked over time and can be extended to arbitrary models of electrode and neuron. We demonstrate the method using biophysical models and whole cell recordings in cortical and brain-stem neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calibration
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice
  • Microelectrodes
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology