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Curr Top Dev Biol. 1998;39:159-85.

The development of voltage-gated ion channels and its relation to activity-dependent development events.

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Department of Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Spontaneous activity is an essential feature in the development of the nervous system. The patterns of activity and the waveform and ionic dependence of the action potentials that occur during such activity are fine-tuned to carry out certain developmental functions, and are therefore generally not compatible with the mature physiological function of the cell. For this reason, the patterns of ion channel development that create spontaneous activity early in the development of a given cell type are complex and not easily predicted from the mature properties of that same cell. Ion channels are often found that are specific to early stages of development, and that either are not retained in the mature cell or whose properties are greatly changed during later differentiation. The exact significance of such patterns of channel development is just now becoming clear, as we understand more about the mechanisms linking spontaneous activity to later developmental events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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