Single-cell electric impedance topography (sceTopo), a technique introduced here, maps the spatial distribution of capacitance (i.e. displacement current) associated with the membranes of isolated, living cells. Cells were positioned in the center of a circular recording chamber surrounded by eight electrodes. Electrodes were evenly distributed on the periphery of the recording chamber. Electric impedance measured between adjacent electrode pairs (10 kHz–5 MHz) was used to construct topographical maps of the spatial distribution of membrane capacitance. XenopusOocytes were used as a model cell to develop sceTopo because these cells consist of two visually distinguishable hemispheres, each with distinct membrane composition and structure. Results showed significant differences in the imaginary component of the impedance between the two oocyte hemispheres. In addition, the same circumferential array was used to map the size of the extracellular electrical shunt path around the cell, providing a means to estimate the location and shape of the cell in the recording chamber.
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