A team of scientists has combined a patch clamp with what is essentially an
atomic force microscope to be able to now study beating cardiac cells.
The patch clamp technique has provided a great deal insight into the
electrophysiological processes happening on the cellular level by
monitoring ion channel activity. For the discovery, Erwin Neher and Bert
Sakmann won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Now a team of scientists has combined a patch clamp with what is essentially
an atomic force microscope to be able to now study beating cardiac cells.
The new technology relies on a special force-controlled nanopipette that was
modeled on microchanneled cantilevers used in atomic force microscopes.
Study abstract: First, the compatibility of the system with patch-clamp
electronics and its ability to record the activity of voltage-gated ion
channels in whole-cell configuration was demonstrated with sodium (NaV
Second, we showed the feasibility of simultaneous recording of membrane
current and force development during contraction of isolated cardiomyocytes.
Force feedback allowed for a gentle and stable contact between AFM tip and cell
membrane enabling serial patch clamping and injection without apparent cell