Acutely dissociated cell bodies of mouse Purkinje neurons spontaneously fired action potentials at approximately 50 Hz (25 degrees C). To directly measure the ionic currents underlying spontaneous activity, we voltage-clamped the cells using prerecorded spontaneous action potentials (spike trains) as voltage commands and used ionic substitution and selective blockers to isolate individual currents. The largest current flowing during the interspike interval was tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current (approximately -50 pA between -65 and -60 mV). Although the neurons had large voltage-dependent calcium currents, the net current blocked by cobalt substitution for calcium was outward at all times during spike trains. Thus, the electrical effect of calcium current is apparently dominated by rapidly activated calcium-dependent potassium currents. Under current clamp, all cells continued firing spontaneously (though approximately 30% more slowly) after block of T-type calcium current by mibefradil, and most cells continued to fire after block of all calcium current by cobalt substitution. Although the neurons possessed hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih), little current flowed during spike trains, and block by 1 mM cesium had no effect on firing frequency. The outward potassium currents underlying the repolarization of the spikes were completely blocked by 1 mM TEA. These currents deactivated quickly (<1 msec) after each spike. We conclude that the spontaneous firing of Purkinje neuron cell bodies depends mainly on tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current flowing between spikes. The high firing rate is promoted by large potassium currents that repolarize the cell rapidly and deactivate quickly, thus preventing strong hyperpolarization and restoring a high input resistance for subsequent depolarization. (+info)
Characterization of K+ currents underlying pacemaker potentials of fish gonadotropin-releasing hormone cells.
Endogenous pacemaker activities are important for the putative neuromodulator functions of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-immunoreactive terminal nerve (TN) cells. We analyzed several types of voltage-dependent K+ currents to investigate the ionic mechanisms underlying the repolarizing phase of pacemaker potentials of TN-GnRH cells by using the whole brain in vitro preparation of fish (dwarf gourami, Colisa lalia). TN-GnRH cells have at least four types of voltage-dependent K+ currents: 1) 4-aminopyridine (4AP)-sensitive K+ current, 2) tetraethylammonium (TEA)-sensitive K+ current, and 3) and 4) two types of TEA- and 4AP-resistant K+ currents. A transient, low-threshold K+ current, which was 4AP sensitive and showed significant steady-state inactivation in the physiological membrane potential range (-40 to -60 mV), was evoked from a holding potential of -100 mV. This current thus cannot contribute to the repolarizing phase of pacemaker potentials. TEA-sensitive K+ current evoked from a holding potential of -100 mV was slowly activating, long lasting, and showed comparatively low threshold of activation. This current was only partially inactivated at steady state of -60 to -40 mV, which is equivalent to the resting membrane potential. TEA- and 4AP-resistant sustained K+ currents were evoked from a holding potential of -100 mV and were suggested to consist of two types, based on the analysis of activation curves. From the inactivation and activation curves, it was suggested that one of them with low threshold of activation may be partly involved in the repolarizing phase of pacemaker potentials. Bath application of TEA together with tetrodotoxin reversibly blocked the pacemaker potentials in current-clamp recordings. We conclude that the TEA-sensitive K+ current is the most likely candidate that contributes to the repolarizing phase of the pacemaker potentials of TN-GnRH cells. (+info)
L-arginine stimulation of glucose-induced insulin secretion through membrane depolarization and independent of nitric oxide.
The mechanism of L-arginine stimulation of glucose-induced insulin secretion from mouse pancreatic islets was studied. At 16.7 mmol/l glucose, L-arginine (10 mmol/l) potentiated both phases 1 and 2 of glucose-induced insulin secretion. This potentiation of glucose-induced insulin secretion was mimicked by the membrane depolarizing agents tetraethylammonium (TEA, 20 mmol/l) and K+ (60 mmol/l), which at 16.7 mmol/l glucose obliterated L-arginine (10 mmol/l) modulation of insulin secretion. Thus L-arginine may potentiate glucose-induced insulin secretion by stimulation of membrane depolarization. At 3.3 mmol/l glucose, L-arginine (10 mmol/l) failed to stimulate insulin secretion. In accordance with membrane depolarization by the electrogenic transport of L-arginine, however, L-arginine (10 mmol/l) stimulation of insulin secretion was enabled by the K+ channel inhibitor TEA (20 mmol/l), which potentiates membrane depolarization by L-arginine. Furthermore, L-arginine (10 mmol/l) stimulation of insulin secretion was permitted by forskolin (10 micromol/l) or tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (0.16 micromol/l), which, by activation of protein kinases A and C respectively sensitize the exocytotic machinery to L-arginine-induced Ca2+ influx. Thus glucose may sensitize L-arginine stimulation of insulin secretion by potentiation of membrane depolarization and by activation of protein kinase A or protein kinase C. Finally, L-arginine stimulation of glucose-induced insulin secretion was mimicked by NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (10 mmol/l), which stimulates membrane depolarization but inhibits nitric oxide synthase, suggesting that L-arginine-derived nitric oxide neither inhibits nor stimulates insulin secretion. In conclusion, it is suggested that L-arginine potentiation of glucose-induced insulin secretion occurs independently of nitric oxide, but is mediated by membrane depolarization, which stimulates insulin secretion through protein kinase A- and C-sensitive mechanisms. (+info)
Tetraethylammonium block of the BNC1 channel.
The brain Na+ channel-1 (BNC1, also known as MDEG1 or ASIC2) is a member of the DEG/ENaC cation channel family. Mutation of a specific residue (Gly430) that lies N-terminal to the second membrane-spanning domain activates BNC1 and converts it from a Na+-selective channel to one permeable to both Na+ and K+. Because all K+ channels are blocked by tetraethylammonium (TEA), we asked if TEA would inhibit BNC1 with a mutation at residue 430. External TEA blocked BNC1 when residue 430 was a Val or a Thr. Block was steeply voltage-dependent and was reduced when current was outward, suggesting multi-ion block within the channel pore. Block was dependent on the size of the quaternary ammonium; the smaller tetramethylammonium blocked with similar properties, whereas the larger tetrapropylammonium had little effect. When residue 430 was Phe, the effects of tetramethylammonium and tetrapropylammonium were not altered. In contrast, block by TEA was much less voltage-dependent, suggesting that the Phe mutation introduced a new TEA binding site located approximately 30% of the way across the electric field. These results provide insight into the structure and function of BNC1 and suggest that TEA may be a useful tool to probe function of this channel family. (+info)
Contribution of delayed rectifier potassium currents to the electrical activity of murine colonic smooth muscle.
1. We used intracellular microelectrodes to record the membrane potential (Vm) of intact murine colonic smooth muscle. Electrical activity consisted of spike complexes separated by quiescent periods (Vm approximately -60 mV). The spike complexes consisted of about a dozen action potentials of approximately 30 mV amplitude. Tetraethylammonium (TEA, 1-10 mM) had little effect on the quiescent periods but increased the amplitude of the action potential spikes. 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP, >= 5 mM) caused continuous spiking. 2. Voltage clamp of isolated myocytes identified delayed rectifier K+ currents that activated rapidly (time to half-maximum current, 11.5 ms at 0 mV) and inactivated in two phases (tauf = 96 ms, taus = 1.5 s at 0 mV). The half-activation voltage of the permeability was -27 mV, with significant activation at -50 mV. 3. TEA (10 mM) reduced the outward current at potentials positive to 0 mV. 4-AP (5 mM) reduced the early current but increased outward current at later times (100-500 ms) consistent with block of resting channels relieved by depolarization. 4-AP inhibited outward current at potentials negative to -20 mV, potentials where TEA had no effect. 4. Qualitative PCR amplification of mRNA identified transcripts encoding delayed rectifier K+ channel subunits Kv1.6, Kv4.1, Kv4.2, Kv4.3 and the Kvbeta1.1 subunit in murine colon myocytes. mRNA encoding Kv 1.4 was not detected. 5. We find that TEA-sensitive delayed rectifier currents are important determinants of action potential amplitude but not rhythmicity. Delayed rectifier currents sensitive to 4-AP are important determinants of rhythmicity but not action potential amplitude. (+info)
Studies of the role of endothelium-dependent nitric oxide release in the sustained vasodilator effects of corticotrophin releasing factor and sauvagine.
1. The mechanisms of the sustained vasodilator actions of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and sauvagine (SVG) were studied using rings of endothelium de-nuded rat thoracic aorta (RTA) and the isolated perfused rat superior mesenteric arterial vasculature (SMA). 2. SVG was approximately 50 fold more potent than CRF on RTA (EC40: 0.9 +/- 0.2 and 44 +/- 9 nM respectively, P < 0.05), and approximately 10 fold more active in the perfused SMA (ED40: 0.05 +/- 0.02 and 0.6 +/- 0.1 nmol respectively, P < 0.05). Single bolus injections of CRF (100 pmol) or SVG (15 pmol) in the perfused SMA caused reductions in perfusion pressure of 23 +/- 1 and 24 +/- 2% that lasted more than 20 min. 3. Removal of the endothelium in the perfused SMA with deoxycholic acid attenuated the vasodilatation and revealed two phases to the response; a short lasting direct action, and a sustained phase which was fully inhibited. 4. Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase with L-NAME (100 microM) L-NMMA (100 microM) or 2-ethyl-2-thiopseudourea (ETPU, 100 microM) had similar effects on the vasodilator responses to CRF as removal of the endothelium, suggesting a pivotal role for nitric oxide. However the selective guanylate cyclase inhibitor 1H-[l,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-alpha]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ, 10 microM) did not affect the response to CRF. 5. High potassium (60 mM) completely inhibited the vasodilator response to CRF in the perfused SMA, indicating a role for K channels in this response. 6. Compared to other vasodilator agents acting via the release of NO, the actions of CRF and SVG are strikingly long-lasting, suggesting a novel mechanism of prolonged activation of nitric oxide synthase. (+info)
Transient potassium currents regulate the discharge patterns of dorsal cochlear nucleus pyramidal cells.
Pyramidal cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) show three distinct temporal discharge patterns in response to sound: "pauser," "buildup," and "chopper." Similar discharge patterns are seen in vitro and depend on the voltage from which the cell is depolarized. It has been proposed that an inactivating A-type K+ current (IKI) might play a critical role in generating the three different patterns. In this study we examined the characteristics of transient currents in DCN pyramidal cells to evaluate this hypothesis. Morphologically identified pyramidal cells in rat brain slices (P11-P17) exhibited the three voltage-dependent discharge patterns. Two inactivating currents were present in outside-out patches from pyramidal cells: a rapidly inactivating (IKIF, tau approximately 11 msec) current insensitive to block by tetraethylammonium (TEA) and variably blocked by 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) with half-inactivation near -85 mV, and a slowly inactivating TEA- and 4-AP-sensitive current (IKIS, tau approximately 145 msec) with half-inactivation near -35 mV. Recovery from inactivation at 34 degrees C was described by a single exponential with a time constant of 10-30 msec, similar to the rate at which first spike latency increases with the duration of a hyperpolarizing prepulse. Acutely isolated cells also possessed a rapidly activating (<1 msec at 22 degrees C) transient current that activated near -45 mV and showed half-inactivation near -80 mV. A model demonstrated that the deinactivation of IKIF was correlated with the discharge patterns. Overall, the properties of the fast inactivating K+ current were consistent with their proposed role in shaping the discharge pattern of DCN pyramidal cells. (+info)
Vascular endothelial cells are constantly exposed to mechanical forces resulting from blood flow and transmural pressure. The goal of this study was to determine whether mechanical stimulation alters the properties of endothelial voltage-gated K+ channels. Cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs) were isolated from rat ventricular muscle and cultured on thin sheets of silastic membranes. Membrane currents were measured with the use of the whole-cell arrangement of the patch-clamp technique in endothelial cells subjected to static stretch for 24 hours and compared with measurements from control, nonstretched cells. Voltage steps positive to -30 mV resulted in the activation of a time-dependent, delayed rectifier K+current (IK) in the endothelial cells. Mechanically induced increases of 97%, 355%, and 106% at +30 mV were measured in the peak amplitude of IK in cells stretched for 24 hours by 5%, 10%, and 15%, respectively. In addition, the half-maximal voltage required for IK activation was shifted from +34 mV in the nonstretched cells to -5 mV in the stretched cells. Although IK in both groups of CMECs was blocked to a similar extent by tetraethylammonium, currents in the stretched endothelial cells displayed an enhanced sensitivity to inhibition by charybdotoxin. Preincubation of the CMECs with either pertussis toxin or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate during the 24 hours of cell stretch did not prevent the increase in IK. The application of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and static stretch stimulated the proliferation of CMECs. Stretch-induced regulation of K+ channels may be important to control the resting potential of the endothelium and may contribute to capillary growth during periods of mechanical perturbation. (+info)