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Pflugers Arch. 1983 May;397(3):190-4.

Does the "pacemaker current" generate the diastolic depolarization in the rabbit SA node cells?


Small preparations of spontaneously beating rabbit sino-atrial node (SA node) were voltage clamped with the two-microelectrode technique. The effects of 0.25-5 mM Cs+ on the spontaneous pacing rate and the time-dependent inward "pacemaker" current, ih, were studied. In the presence of 2 mM Cs+, the spontaneous pacing rate decreased only slightly even though ih was strongly depressed at potentials negative to -60 mV Cs+ had little or no effect on other time-dependent currents observed with clamp pulses less negative than -50 mV. Since no voltage-dependence to the Cs+ effect on ih could be measured (between -90 mV and -20 mV), it was considered unlikely that the lack of Cs+ effect on the rate of diastolic depolarization results from a voltage-dependent effect of Cs+ on the ih channel. Adrenaline produced a marked positive chronotropic effect in Cs+-treated SA node cells. This effect was accompanied by marked enhancement of the slow inward current (isi) with no change in the Cs+-blocked ih current. These results are consistent with the idea that ih plays a minor role in generation of pacemaker depolarization, and suggest a more prominent role of isi in the generation of diastolic depolarization in SA nodal cells.

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