Sources of errors in different single-electrode voltage-clamp techniques: a computer simulation study
Sala, F.; Sala, S.
Journal of Neuroscience Methods 53(2): 189-197
The use of voltage clamp with a single electrode has been useful in estimating kinetic parameters for a number of ionic whole-cell currents. There are two main types of such a technique: discontinuous voltage clamp (dSEVC) (Brennecke and Lindemann, 1974), and continuous voltage clamp (cSEVC) (Hamill et al., 1981). We have studied, by means of computer simulations, the performance of both types of clamp on estimating activation kinetics parameters of a typical neuronal Ca-2+ current. Deviations from the theoretical values are shown to be sensitive on both set-up and cell properties. Both types of clamp are shown to lose voltage control when either access resistance or absolute membrane conductance are increased. In contrast, changes in membrane capacitance affect differently to the estimates obtained by the two types of clamp. Cell size is also shown to affect cSEVC performance but not that of dSEVC. The nature and magnitude of errors obtained by using both types of clamp in different situations are discussed.