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J Neurophysiol. 1996 Jun;75(6):2629-46.

Characterization of six voltage-gated K+ currents in adult rat sensory neurons.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0452, USA.


1. Previously three voltage-gated K+ currents were described in neurons from mammalian sensory ganglia: two transient and one sustained. Because there is considerable variability in the gating properties of these three currents, we have investigated the possibility that this variability reflects the presence of additional currents in sensory neurons. 2. Using whole cell patch-clamp techniques, we provide evidence for the existence of six voltage-gated K+ currents in cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons from the adult rat. The six currents were identified on the basis of distinct biophysical and pharmacological properties; three currents are transient (IAf, IAht, and IAs), and three are sustained (IKi, IKlt, and IKn). 3. In addition to possessing distinct biophysical and pharmacological properties, four of the six currents are differentially expressed among subpopulations of DRG neurons. IAht is selectively expressed in small-diameter neurons. IKi is expressed more frequently in neurons with an action-potential shoulder, and both IAht and IAs are selectively coexpressed in neurons that respond to the algogenic agent capsaicin. IAf is selectively expressed in large-diameter neurons and is the only current expressed more frequently in neurons without an action-potential shoulder. 4. It is likely that much of apparent variability in the properties of the three voltage-gated K+ currents reported previously in vertebrate sensory neurons can be accounted for by the existence of at least three additional voltage-gated K+ currents described in this report.

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