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J Gen Physiol. 1999 May;113(5):661-78.

Four kinetically distinct depolarization-activated K+ currents in adult mouse ventricular myocytes.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


In the experiments here, the time- and voltage-dependent properties of the Ca2+-independent, depolarization-activated K+ currents in adult mouse ventricular myocytes were characterized in detail. In the majority (65 of 72, approximately 90%) of cells dispersed from the ventricles, analysis of the decay phases of the outward currents revealed three distinct K+ current components: a rapidly inactivating, transient outward K+ current, Ito,f (mean +/- SEM taudecay = 85 +/- 2 ms); a slowly (mean +/- SEM taudecay = 1,162 +/- 29 ms) inactivating K+ current, IK,slow; and a non inactivating, steady state current, Iss. In a small subset (7 of 72, approximately 10%) of cells, Ito,f was absent and a slowly inactivating (mean +/- SEM taudecay = 196 +/- 7 ms) transient outward current, referred to as Ito,s, was identified; the densities and properties of IK,slow and Iss in Ito,s-expressing cells are indistinguishable from the corresponding currents in cells with Ito,f. Microdissection techniques were used to remove tissue pieces from the left ventricular apex and from the ventricular septum to allow the hypothesis that there are regional differences in Ito,f and Ito,s expression to be tested directly. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that all cells isolated from the apex express Ito,f (n = 35); Ito,s is not detected in these cells (n = 35). In the septum, by contrast, all of the cells express Ito,s (n = 28) and in the majority (22 of 28, 80%) of cells, Ito,f is also present. The density of Ito,f (mean +/- SEM at +40 mV = 6.8 +/- 0.5 pA/pF, n = 22) in septum cells, however, is significantly (P < 0.001) lower than Ito,f density in cells from the apex (mean +/- SEM at +40 mV = 34.6 +/- 2.6 pA/pF, n = 35). In addition to differences in inactivation kinetics, Ito,f, Ito,s, and IK,slow display distinct rates of recovery (from inactivation), as well as differential sensitivities to 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), tetraethylammonium (TEA), and Heteropoda toxin-3. IK,slow, for example, is blocked selectively by low (10-50 microM) concentrations of 4-AP and by (>/=25 mM) TEA. Although both Ito,f and Ito,s are blocked by high (>100 microM) 4-AP concentrations and are relatively insensitive to TEA, Ito,f is selectively blocked by nanomolar concentrations of Heteropoda toxin-3, and Ito,s (as well as IK,slow and Iss) is unaffected. Iss is partially blocked by high concentrations of 4-AP or TEA. The functional implications of the distinct properties and expression patterns of Ito,f and Ito,s, as well as the likely molecular correlates of these (and the IK,slow and Iss) currents, are discussed.

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