The use of channel blocking drugs to study different ion channels makes one wonder if there is a less destructive manner to study channel behavior. The Dynamic clamp provides just that.
The Dynamic clamp is an evolution of the voltage clamp which can be used to simulate dynamic processes such as membrane of synaptic currents in living cells.The operation is as follows:
A living cell is contacted with one or several electrodes and its membrane potential V is amplified and fed into the dynamic clamp machine. The dynamic clamp machine contains a model of the membrane or synaptic conductance(s) to be inserted in the living cell(s), either in the form of equations (for digital dynamic clamp systems) or in the form of a dedicated electrical circuit (for analog systems). The dynamic clamp system computes the current(s) I generated by the modeled conductance(s) and outputs it in real-time. That current is injected into the living cell, which therefore receives the same current as if it contained the membrane or synaptic conductance modeled with the dynamic clamp.
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