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J Physiol. 1994 Mar 15;475(3):377-89.

Outwardly rectifying chloride current in rabbit osteoclasts is activated by hyposmotic stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


1. We characterized chloride currents in freshly isolated rabbit osteoclasts using whole-cell and single channel patch-clamp recording configurations. Depolarization activated an outwardly rectifying current in 40-50% of cells, distinct from the inwardly rectifying K+ current we have previously reported in osteoclasts. 2. The outwardly rectifying current persisted under conditions where all K+ currents were blocked. Furthermore, the outward current was reversibly inhibited by Cl- transport blockers 4-acetamido-4'-isothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulphonic acid (SITS); 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulphonic acid (DIDS); 4,4'-dinitrostilbene-2,2'-disulphonic acid (DNDS); and niflumic acid. The blocked current had a reversal potential close to the predicted chloride equilibrium potential and was dependent on the chloride concentration gradient. 3. In those osteoclasts in which outwardly rectifying current was not initially apparent, exposure to hyposmotic extracellular solution resulted in its reversible activation. The induced current was due to Cl-, based on its reversal close to the chloride equilibrium potential and sensitivity to blockade by Cl- channel inhibitors. The hyposmotically induced current could be activated in Ca(2+)-free solutions containing 0.2 mM EGTA. 4. When studied in the current-clamp configuration, hyposmotic stimulation caused depolarization from -76 +/- 5 to -5 +/- 6 mV (mean +/- S.D., n = 7). 5. Unitary Cl- currents were recorded in the cell-attached patch configuration at positive potentials. Single channels had a slope conductance of 19 +/- 3 pS (n = 5). Reduction of the external [Cl-] shifted the current-voltage relationship in the positive direction, supporting the conclusion that these were Cl- currents. Like the whole-cell currents, single channel Cl- currents were activated by exposure of cells to hyposmotic bathing solution. 6. We conclude that rabbit osteoclasts express an outwardly rectifying Cl- current that can be activated by osmotic stress. Cl- channels may play a role in cell volume regulation and may also provide conductive pathways for dissipating the potential difference that arises from electrogenic proton transport during bone resorption.

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