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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Nov;85(21):7988-92.

Extracellular ATP induces a large nonselective conductance in macrophage plasma membranes.

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Department of Physiology and Physiological Physics, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


Extracellular ATP in its tetra-anionic form (ATP4-) induces ion fluxes and membrane depolarization in the mouse macrophage-like cell line J774.2 and in resident mouse macrophages. We analyzed the effects of extracellular ATP4- by both patch-clamp and intracellular microelectrode techniques. Whole-cell patch-configuration membrane potential measurements on J774.2 cells revealed that ATP4- -induced depolarization occurred within 40 ms of pulsed application of ATP and was completely reversible. The depolarizations were accompanied by a dramatic increase in membrane conductance and showed no sign of adaptation to ATP over a period of 30 min. At 5 mM total ATP (ATPt) the whole-cell conductance was approximately 10 nS, and an upper limit of 20 pS for a single-channel conductance has been established. The reversal potential associated with the ATP-induced depolarization at asymmetric K+, Na+, Ca2+, and Cl- concentrations across the membrane was 0 mV. In patch-clamped cells depolarization was complete at 20 microM ATP4-, and repolarization from full depolarization occurred in approximately 5 s. In contrast, in intact cells measured by microelectrode impalement, complete depolarization occurred at approximately 2 mM ATP4- and repolarization was much slower (approximately 100 min). These findings indicate that the changes in intracellular ionic composition that occur after ATP treatment affect the rate of cell repolarization. At lower concentrations of ATP, potassium conductances modulated the depolarizing effect of ATP. ATP also depolarized mouse peritoneal macrophages, but a variant cell line (ATPR B2), derived from J774.2 cells by prolonged exposure to ATP, was insensitive to ATP. Our results provide a membrane electrophysiological description and analysis of a large nonselective plasma membrane conductance of macrophages induced by extracellular ATP.

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