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Pflugers Arch. 1996 Feb;431(4):658-67.

Further investigation of ionic diffusive properties and of NH4+ pathways in Xenopus laevis oocyte cell membrane.

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INSERM, Faculté Necker-Enfants Malades, Université Paris, France.


To study the ionic diffusive properties and the NH4+ pathways in the Xenopus laevis oocyte cell membrane, we recorded the effects of various inhibitors on membrane potential (Vm) and membrane resistance (Rm); intracellular acidification was taken as an index of NH4+ influx from the bath to the cytoplasm. The following results were obtained: in the control state, barium and quinine (Q) ions depolarized Vm and raised Rm, consistent with inhibition of K+ conductance(s). Diphenylamine-2-carboxylic acid (DPC), 3',5'-dichlorodiphenylamine-2-carboxylic acid (DCDPC) and gadolinium ions hyperpolarized Vm and increased Rm, suggesting the inhibition of nonselective cationic conductance(s). In the presence of 20 mmol/l NH4Cl, Vm depolarized, Rm fell, and intracellular pH (pHi) decreased, consistent with an NH4+ influx. In the presence of DPC, the same manoeuvre induced a biphasic Vm change (i.e. a spike depolarization followed by a membrane hyperpolarization) and a fall of Rm; in most oocytes, intracellular acidification persisted and was reversible upon adding ouabain (Oua). These results indicate that a DPC-sensitive conductance is not the unique NH4+ pathway and that Na, K-ATPase may also mediate NH4+ influx. However, Oua did not prevent the Rm decrease, suggesting that ouabain-insensitive rheogenic pathway(s) are activated. Thus, we investigated the Vm change induced by NH4Cl addition in the presence of DPC: the spike depolarization followed by secondary hyperpolarization became a plateau depolarization when Q was added, suggesting involvement of Q-sensitive pathway(s) in the above described biphasic Vm change. In the presence of DPC, Q and Oua, intracellular acidification upon adding NH4Cl persisted consistent with further NH4+ influx through quinine-, DPC- and Oua-insensitive pathway(s).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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