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Long-lasting reduction of excitability by a sodium-dependent potassium current in cat neocortical neurons.

P C Schwindt, W J Spain, W E Crill

J. Neurophysiol., 1989 Feb , 61, 233-44

1. The function and ionic mechanism of a slow outward current were studied in large layer V neurons of cat sensorimotor cortex using an in vitro slice preparation and single microelectrode voltage clamp. 2. With Ca2+ influx blocked, a slow relaxation ("tail") of outward current followed either (1) repetitive firing evoked for 1 s or (2) a small 1-s depolarizing voltage clamp step that activated the persistent Na+ current of neocortical neurons, INaP. When a depolarization that activated INaP was maintained, an outward current gradually developed and increased in amplitude over a period of tens of seconds to several minutes. An outward tail current of similar duration followed repolarization. The slow outward current was abolished by TTX, indicating it depended on Na+ influx. 3. With Ca2+ influx blocked, the onset of the slow Na+-dependent outward current caused spike frequency adaptation during current-evoked repetitive firing. Following the firing, the decay of the Na+-dependent current caused a slow afterhyperpolarization (sAHP) and a long-lasting reduction of excitability. It also was responsible for habituation of the response to repeated identical current pulses. 4. The Na+-dependent tail current had properties expected of a K+ current. Membrane chord conductance increased during the tail, and tail amplitude was reduced or reversed by membrane potential hyperpolarization and raised extracellular K+ concentration [( K+]0). 5. The current tail was reduced reversibly by the K+ channel blockers TEA (5-10 mM), muscarine (5-20 microM), and norepinephrine (100 microM). These agents also resulted in a larger, more sustained inward current during the preceding step depolarization. Comparison of current time course before and after the application of blocking agents suggested that, in spite of its capability for slow buildup and decay, the onset of the Na+-dependent outward current occurs within 100 ms of an adequate step depolarization. 6. With Ca2+ influx blocked, extracellular application of dantrolene sodium (30 microM) had no clear effect on the current tail or the corresponding sAHP.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)