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Trends Neurosci. 1994 Apr;17(4):155-60.

Na(+)-activated K+ channels: a new family of large-conductance ion channels.

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Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306-4075.


Sodium-activated K+ channels (IK(Na)) are a class of large-conductance ion channels expressed in several populations of vertebrate neurons, mammalian cardiac myocytes and Xenopus oocytes. These channels are activated by the binding of Na+ to sites located on the cytoplasmic face of the channel. The physiological functions of IK(Na) channels have been difficult to ascertain, in part because their activation typically requires Na+ concentrations considerably higher than those that are normally present in the cytosol. However, there is now evidence suggesting that IK(Na) can play a role in the regulation of neuronal excitability, the modulation of the action-potential waveform, and the responses of excitable cells to hypoxia and ischemia.

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