Analysis of decaying unitary currents in on-cell patches of cells with a high membrane resistance

Am J Physiol. 1994 Mar;266(3 Pt 1):C853-69. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.1994.266.3.C853.


Under nonideal voltage-clamp conditions, unitary currents in the cell-attached patch (CAP) configuration of the patch-clamp technique are decaying instead of rectangular. From these data, four parameters can be determined when multiple identical channels are present. We analyzed an electrical equivalent circuit of the CAP configuration. This analysis yielded, for single-channel resistance, attached-cell membrane resistance, patch resistance, and attached-cell membrane capacitance, a set of different equations to calculate their values from these four parameters. To choose the most robust equation, those that yielded the same resistor/capacitance were compared on the basis of their sensitivity for inevitable deviations of the parameters from their nominal values. The results of our theoretical study are of methodological interest: 1) because they confirm that, under special conditions, CAP measurements can be used to measure electrical membrane properties of intact cells (this is important inasmuch as the CAP is the only configuration in which the cytoplasm of cells remains undisturbed) and 2) because we identify the level of voltage clamp and the equations with which the electrical properties can be determined with optimal accuracy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*