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Demonstrating action potentials during class experiments is very educational for science students. It is not easy, however, to obtain a stable intracellular recording of action potentials from the conventionally used skeletal muscle cells, because the tip of a glass microelectrode often comes out or breaks due to muscle contraction. Here, I present a much simpler recording method using a flexible polyethylene electrode with a wide orifice (?1 mm) for a bullfrog heart beating on automaticity. Extracellular recordings of action potentials (electrocardiogram) can be obtained by placing an electrode on the cardiac surface, and transmembrane potentials can be obtained by rupturing the membrane with negative pressure, i.e., whole cell configuration. Once attached to the heart by suction, the polyethylene electrode does not easily come off during contraction of the heart. Perfusion of the heart via the postcaval vein offers us opportunities for observing the effects of either changing ionic compositions of solutions or applying drugs. The techniques shown here provide a simple and convenient way to perform a variety of class experiments.
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