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Nitric Oxide. 2001 Aug;5(4):361-9.

Nitric oxide activates voltage-dependent potassium currents of crustacean skeletal muscle.

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Department of Molecular Neurobiology & Cellular Physiology, Institute of Zoology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, Salzburg, A-5020, Austria.


Nitric oxide (NO), a radical gas, acts as a multifunctional intra- and intercellular messenger. In the present study we investigated the effects of NO on muscle membrane potassium currents of isolated single muscle fibers from the marine isopods, Idotea baltica, using two-electrode voltage clamp recording techniques. Voltage-activated potassium currents consist of an outward current with fast activation and inactivation kinetics and a delayed, persistent outward current. Both currents were blocked by extracellular 4-aminopyridine and tetraethylammonium; the currents were not blocked by charybdotoxin or apamin. Application of the NO donors S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) or hydroxylamine increased both the early and the delayed outward current in a dose- and time-dependent manner. PTIO, a NO scavenger, suppressed the effect of SNAP. N-Acetyl-dl-penicillamine, a related control compound which does not liberate NO, had no significant effect on outward currents. Methylene blue, a guanylyl cyclase inhibitor, prevented the increase of the outward current while 8-bromo-cGMP increased the current. Our experiments show that potassium currents of Idotea muscle are increased by NO donors. They suggest that NO by stimulating cGMP production mediates the effects on membrane currents involved in regulation of invertebrate muscle excitability.

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