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Neuron. 1989 Apr;2(4):1375-88.

Glial and neuronal forms of the voltage-dependent sodium channel: characteristics and cell-type distribution.

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  • 1Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Two functionally different forms of the voltage-dependent sodium channel were observed in glia and in neurons of the mammalian nervous system. Both forms had identical conductance and tetrodotoxin sensitivity and displayed steady-state inactivation, a strongly voltage-dependent rate of activation, and a faster but weakly voltage-sensitive rate of inactivation. However, the glial form had significantly slower kinetics and a more negative voltage dependence, suggesting that it was functionally specialized for glia. This form was found in most glial types studied, while the neuronal form was observed in retinal ganglion cells, cortical motor neurons, and O2A glial progenitor cells. Both forms occurred in type-2 astrocytes. The presence of the glial form correlated with the RAN-2 surface antigen.

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