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J Cell Physiol. 1990 Apr;143(1):13-20.

Extracellular calcium affects the membrane currents of cultured human keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


Electrophysiologic properties of cultured human keratinocytes were studied using the patch voltage-clamp technique. Undifferentiated, proliferative keratinocytes grown in low Ca2+ medium had an average resting membrane potential of -24 mV. Voltage-clamp experiments showed that these cells had two membrane ionic currents: a large voltage-independent leak conductance, and a smaller voltage-dependent Cl- current that activated with depolarization. Increasing the extracellular Ca2+ concentration from 0.15 to 2 mM resulted in a doubling of the magnitude of the voltage-gated current and a shift in current activation to more negative potentials. Since levels of extracellular Ca2+ can alter the morphology and differentiation state of keratinocytes, the finding of a Ca2(+)-activated Cl- current in these cells suggests a role for this conductance in the initiation of differentiation.

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