MATLAB implementation of a dynamic clamp with bandwidth of >125 kHz capable of generating I Na at 37 °C

Pflugers Arch. 2013 Apr;465(4):497-507. doi: 10.1007/s00424-012-1186-8. Epub 2012 Dec 9.


We describe the construction of a dynamic clamp with a bandwidth of >125 kHz that utilizes a high-performance, yet low-cost, standard home/office PC interfaced with a high-speed (16 bit) data acquisition module. High bandwidth is achieved by exploiting recently available software advances (code-generation technology and optimized real-time kernel). Dynamic-clamp programs are constructed using Simulink, a visual programming language. Blocks for computation of membrane currents are written in the high-level MATLAB language; no programming in C is required. The instrument can be used in single- or dual-cell configurations, with the capability to modify programs while experiments are in progress. We describe an algorithm for computing the fast transient Na(+) current (I Na) in real time and test its accuracy and stability using rate constants appropriate for 37 °C. We then construct a program capable of supplying three currents to a cell preparation: I Na, the hyperpolarizing-activated inward pacemaker current (I f) and an inward-rectifier K(+) current (I K1). The program corrects for the IR drop due to electrode current flow and also records all voltages and currents. We tested this program on dual patch-clamped HEK293 cells where the dynamic clamp controls a current-clamp amplifier and a voltage-clamp amplifier controls membrane potential, and current-clamped HEK293 cells where the dynamic clamp produces spontaneous pacing behavior exhibiting Na(+) spikes in otherwise passive cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Algorithms
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Ion Transport
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods*
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism*


  • Sodium
  • Potassium