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J Physiol. 1991 Jun;437:511-41.

Spontaneous and noradrenaline-induced transient depolarizations in the smooth muscle of guinea-pig mesenteric vein.

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Neuroscience Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.


1. Recordings of membrane current were made in the smooth muscle of short segments of mesenteric vein before or during stimulation with noradrenaline (NA). 2. Small veins (diameter less than 150 microns) when cut into short segments (of length less than 250 microns) had the passive electrical characteristics of short cables both before and during activation with NA. 3. Spontaneous transient depolarizations (STDs) or the underlying inward currents (STICs) were recorded in these preparations. STDs were of myogenic origin as they were not blocked by tetrodotoxin or antagonists to the alpha-adrenoreceptor and persisted after either denervation or disruption of the endothelium. 4. STDs had time courses similar to the underlying currents and were generally slow compared to the membrane time constant of the short segments. 5. STDs and the underlying currents showed large variability in frequency and amplitude both within and between short segments. Currents were typically less than 0.3 nA, were characteristic in shape, had half-durations normally in the range 0.1-0.7 s and reversed at about -25 mV. 6. STDs persisted, but at markedly reduced frequencies, after exposure (3-10 min) to a solution in which cobalt ions had been used to substitute for Ca2+. STDs were also substantially suppressed by exposure to low-chloride solution. 7. Caffeine induced excitatory and inhibitory conductances. An initial component of the caffeine-induced responses showed similar voltage dependence to STDs and was also suppressed by exposure to low-chloride solution. 8. NA, through activation of alpha-adrenoreceptors, caused a sustained depolarization or inward current (under voltage clamp) with considerable membrane potential or current noise often in the form of agonist-induced spontaneous transient depolarizations (ASTDs) or currents (ASTICs). There were marked increases in amplitude and frequency of ASTDs with increase in NA concentrations. 9. ASTDs appeared to be generated within the smooth muscle as they were activated in preparations which had been denervated or in which the endothelium had been disrupted. 10. Except for the pathway of activation, ASTDs were indistinguishable from STDs having half-durations in the same range (0.1-2 s with the majority less than 0.7 s). The underlying currents again showed large variation in amplitude (typically less than 0.3 nA; maximum recorded 0.9 nA). They reversed at about -25 mV, could still be elicited in cobalt solution (but at reduced intensity for long exposures to this low-Ca2+ solution) and were reduced by long term exposure to low-chloride solution.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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