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Am J Physiol. 1980 Nov;239(5):C153-61.

Passive properties of the membrane of single freshly isolated smooth muscle cells.


Single, smooth muscle cells were isolated from the stomach muscularis of the toad Bufo marinus and studied on the same day as isolation using standard electrophysiological techniques and direct microscopic observation at high magnification. Following penetration a period of hyperpolarization occurred that appeared to be caused by an increase in K+ conductance activated by Ca2+ entering the cell upon penetration. Ion substitution studies showed that the stable steady-state resting potential was dependent on both [Na+]0 and [K+]0. At [Ca2+]0 = 1.8 mM, active responses could be elicited which, at the higher [Ca2+]0 (< 8mM) generally employed, became action potentials with overshoots. Calculations employing the equations for a short cable and the observed change of membrane potential as a single exponential in response to a small hyperpolarizing current step both indicated that the length constant (lambda) was sufficiently greater than the cell length so that the cell behaved as an isopotential surface during subthreshold perturbations. From photomicrographic measurements of each cell studied and the input resistance, values of specific membrane resistance (Rm) were obtained that ranged as high as 152 k omega x cm2 depending on the ionic environment, most notably on [Ca2+]0. The membrane capacity (Cm) referred to the surface area measured with light microscopy was 1.3 +/- 0.3 microF/cm2 (mean +/- SD). When the best estimate of caveolar membrane area was included, Cm referred to total membrane area (caveolar plus noncaveolar) was approximately 0.8 microF/cm2.

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