Butera RJ, Wilson CG, Delnegro CA, Smith JC. A methodology for achieving high-speed rates for artificial conductance injection in electrically excitable biological cells (2001) IEEE Trans Biomed Eng, 48: 1460–70.

We present a novel approach to implementing the dynamic-clamp protocol (Sharp et al., 1993), commonly used in neurophysiology and cardiac electrophysiology experiments. Our approach is based on real-time extensions to the Linux operating system. Conventional PC-based approaches have typically utilized single-cycle computational rates of 10 kHz or slower. In thispaper, we demonstrate reliable cycle-to-cycle rates as fast as 50 kHz. Our system, which we call model reference current injection (MRCI); pronounced mercí is also capable of episodic logging of internal state variables and interactive manipulation of model parameters. The limiting factor in achieving high speeds was not processor speed or model complexity, but cycle jitter inherent in the CPU/motherboard performance. We demonstrate these high speeds and flexibility with two examples: 1) adding action-potential ionic currents to a mammalian neuron under whole-cell patch-clamp and 2) altering a cell’s intrinsic dynamics via MRCI while simultaneously coupling it via artificial synapses to an internal computational model cell. These higher rates greatly extend the applicability of this technique to the study of fast electrophysiological currents such fast Na+ currents and fast excitatory/inhibitory synapses.