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Neuron. 1996 Jan;16(1):151-62.

Intracellular calcium directly inhibits potassium M channels in excised membrane patches from rat sympathetic neurons.

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Department of Pharmacology, University College London, United Kingdom.


Complex effects of altering intracellular [Ca2+] on M-type K+ currents have previously been reported using whole-cell current recording. To study the direct effect of Ca2+ on M-channel activity, we have applied Ca2+ to the inside face of membrane patches excised from rat superior cervical sympathetic ganglion cells. Ca2+ rapidly and reversibly inhibited M-channel activity in 28/44 patches by up to 87%, with a mean IC50 of 100 nM. This effect persisted in the absence of ATP, implying that it was not due to phosphorylation/dephosphorylation. A similar effect was observed in 13/13 cell-attached patches when cells were transiently "Ca(2+)-loaded" by adding 2 mM Ca2+ to a 25 mM K+ solution bathing the extrapatch cell membrane. These observations provide new evidence that Ca2+ can directly inhibit M channels, so supporting the view that Ca2+ might mediate M current inhibition following muscarinic receptor activation.

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