Extended dynamic clamp: controlling up to four neurons using a single desktop computer and interface

R. D. Pinto, R. C. Elson, A. Szücs, M. I. Rabinovich, A. I. Selverston, H. D.I. Abarbanel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamic clamp protocol allows an experimenter to simulate the presence of membrane conductances in, and synaptic connections between, biological neurons. Existing protocols and commercial ADC/DAC boards provide ready control in and between ≤2 neurons. Control at >2 sites is desirable when studying neural circuits with serial or ring connectivity. Here, we describe how to extend dynamic clamp control to four neurons and their associated synaptic interactions, using a single IBM-compatible PC, an ADC/DAC interface with two analog outputs, and an additional demultiplexing circuit. A specific C++ program, DYNCLAMP4, implements these procedures in a Windows environment, allowing one to change parameters while the dynamic clamp is running. Computational efficiency is increased by varying the duration of the input-output cycle. The program simulates ≤8 Hodgkin-Huxley-type conductances and ≤18 (chemical and/or electrical) synapses in ≤4 neurons and runs at a minimum update rate of 5 kHz on a 450 MHz CPU. (Increased speed is possible in a two-neuron version that does not need auxiliary circuitry). Using identified neurons of the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion, we illustrate on-line parameter modification and the construction of three-member synaptic rings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2001



  • Artificial synapses
  • Conductance
  • Dynamic clamp
  • Hodgkin-Huxley
  • Neural circuits
  • Simulation
  • Synaptic rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this