Letter | Published:

Membrane Currents in Clamped Vertebrate Nerve

Naturevolume 180pages12901291 (1957) | Download Citation



PLACING nerve membrane in the feed-back arm of an operational amplifier allows one to see what current is needed to make the membrane follow a change in voltage across it. Such a measure, termed ‘Voltage clamp’, has been used for the giant axon of the squid by Hodgkin and Huxley1. Their exhaustive study showed several specific non-linear ionic conductances the behaviour of which accounted for the properties of the excited membrane. Whether all irritable tissues show qualitatively the same pattern and use the same ions is yet unknown, since Hodgkin and Huxley's essay has been unique. We have now succeeded in devising voltage clamps for both the node of Ranvier and the cell body.

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  1. 1

    Hodgkin, A. L., and Huxley, A. F., J. Physiol., 117, 500 (1952).

  2. 2

    Tasaki, I., Amer. J. Physiol., 125, 367 (1939).

  3. 3

    Stämpfli, R., Helv. Physiol. Acta, 4, 411 (1946).

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  1. Department of Physiology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York

  2. Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  3. Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

    • J. Y. LETTVIN
    • , W. S. McCULLOCH
    •  & W. PITTS


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