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Biophys J. 1972 Feb;12(2):157-74.

Laser temperature-jump technique for relaxation studies of the ionic conductances in myelinated nerve fibers.


A temperature-jump technique for single nodes of Ranvier has been developed using a pulsed laser system. The temperature perturbation was accomplished by firing the laser beam obtained from a neodymium rod through the solution surrounding a single node. The temperature step was achieved within 1 msec using the laser in the normal mode of operation. During the voltage-clamped steady-state current a temperature jump from 4 degrees C increased the current to a new steady-state value within the time course of the T-jump. This finding suggests that the maximum potassium permeability P(K) has a rapid relaxation time and that the steady-state value of n (the value of potassium permeability divided by its maximum value) is relatively independent of temperature. T-jumps applied during the voltage-clamped sodium currents showed that the sodium permeability changed with a relaxation time that was also shorter than the duration of the normal mode laser output. T-jumps observed during a hyperpolarization or at the resting potential showed no detectable conductance change. When a T-jump immediately preceded a voltage clamp pulse the technique was then used to investigate the effect of changes in the steady-state temperature on the ionic conductances. It was found that the magnitude of the change in membrane current due to a T-clamp was directly related to the level of cathodal polarization.

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