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Life Sci. 1987 Apr 6;40(14):1345-55.

The electrophysiological properties of the resting thyroid follicular cell.


Glass microelectrodes have been useful in the study of the electrical properties of the resting thyroid follicular cell membrane. The resting transmembrane potential (RMP) has probably been underestimated in earlier work, possible as a result of leak artefacts, and it is clear that in most species the RMP is certainly greater than -60 mV. The ratio of membrane Na+ permeability to K+ permeability (PNa/PK) is of the order of 0.07 to 0.08, and Cl- is possibly (although not definitely) distributed in a passive fashion across the cell membrane, indicating that the transmembrane K+ gradient is the most important factor in the generation of the RMP. The existence of an electrogenic sodium pump in the follicular cell membrane has been demonstrated: the pump contributes about -2 mV to the RMP under control conditions. Follicular cells are completely electrically coupled, the basic coupled cellular unit probably being equivalent to the individual thyroid follicle, and the specific membrane resistance and specific membrane capacitance have been calculated to be 5 k omega. cm2 and 3.6 microF/cm2 respectively.

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