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Temperature and electrophysiology?

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Mon Dec 27 11:30:37 EST 2004

On 27 Dec 2004 08:01:23 -0800, tehgabriel at web.de (tomte) wrote:

>I had a debate with a collegue of mine, wether an increase of
>temperature from 34.5°C to 36°C may lead to significantly different
>effects in whole-cell patch-clamp recordings (I refer to experiments
>on rat brain slices).
>Of course there's no question that one may obtain different results
>when experiments were done at 10°C or 20°C. But what's the situation
>in the special case i mentioned at the beginning (sligthly
>temp.difference in a regime close to body temperature).
>What's your opinion/experience?
>Any comment would be appreciated
>I would be very grateful for references

A process with a Q10 of 2 (rate doubles for a 10C increase in
temperature) would change by less than 4% for a 1/2 degree change.  If
the process were even more  temperature sensitive, a Q10 of 5, say, it
would change by about 8% for the same temperature change.

A change of several degrees would produce small but noticeable
changes.  But a fraction of a degree is another story. In most cases
it would be hard to control the temperature to such a fine degree.

Then, note that body temperature is not really constant, but
fluctuates with time of day, metabolic state, health, etc.  Even brain
temperature in mammals, generally regulated much more finely than core
body temperature, will fluctuate. It is unlikely that small changes
will produce any significant changes in function that are meaningful
to the cell even though they may be detected by a cell physiologist.


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