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Brain Res. 2000 Feb 28;857(1-2):327-36.

Quantitative differences between kinetic properties of Na(+) currents in postganglionic sympathetic neurones projecting to muscular and cutaneous effectors.

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The Medical University of Warsaw, Department of Physiology, Krakowskie PrzedmieĊ›cie 26/28, Warsaw, Poland.


The activity of muscular and cutaneous sympathetic neurones has been shown to be differentially regulated. The differences may partially stem from the different ionic channel expression and current kinetics in these neurones, particularly that of Na(+) channels, which play a critical role in action potential generation and modulation of neuronal excitability. The whole cell patch-clamp technique was used to compare the kinetic properties of Na(+) currents in two groups of sympathetic neurones identified by the fluorescent tracer Fast Blue: putative muscular sympathetic neurones (PMSN) and putative cutaneous sympathetic neurones (PSSN). The tracer was injected into the muscular part of the diaphragm (to mark PMSN) and into the skin of the ear (to mark PSSN). Both kinds of neurones expressed fast activating, fast inactivating, voltage dependent and TTX sensitive Na(+) currents. However, the electrical characteristics of the cells were markedly different: (1) The capacitance of PMSN (21.7 pF) was larger than PSSN (12.7 pF). Maximum current in PMSN (3.1 nA) was also larger than in PSSN (2.0 nA). Calculated current density was smaller in PMSN (148.0 pA/pF) than in PSSN (181.1 pA/pF). Slope conductance was larger in PMSN compared to PSSN (102.7 nS and 73.6 nS respectively). (2) V(1/2) of activation for PMSN (-20.9 mV) was more negative than the potential recorded for PSSN (-16.7 mV); the slope factors were not different. (3) V(1/2) for inactivation was more negative for PMSN than for PSSN (-66.3 vs. -60.8 mV); again, the slope factors for inactivation were not different. (4) The rate of recovery from inactivation could be described by the sum of two exponential functions. In PMSN the fast and slow recovery exponential factors tau(f) and tau(s) were 12.6 (66%) and 83.9 (34%) ms, while in PSSN they were shorter and equalled 8.2 (62%) and 41.9 (38%) ms, respectively. We conclude that the Na(+) currents of PMSN and PSSN have different kinetic properties.

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