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J Physiol. 1999 Jan 1;514 ( Pt 1):125-38.

Contribution of the hyperpolarization-activated current to the resting membrane potential of rat nodose sensory neurons.

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The Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77029, USA.


1. The voltage- and time-dependent characteristics of the hyperpolarization-activated current (IH) and its contribution to the resting membrane potential of neonatal rat nodose sensory neurons were investigated using the whole-cell tight seal method of voltage and current clamp recording. 2. IH was found in all neonatal nodose neurons in vitro, contrary to previous reports where its presence was particular for A-type neurons. We used the presence of both tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) and tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) sodium currents to distinguish C- from A-type neurons (TTX-S only). We obtained further support for the presence of IH in C-type neurons with experiments in which IH was demonstrated in a subset of neurons sensitive to capsaicin. 3. In both groups IH activated at potentials negative to -50 mV, developed slowly with time and was inhibited by 1-5 mM extracellular caesium. At -120 mV, IH activated with a fast time constant of 73 +/- 3 ms in A-type neurons and 163 +/- 37 ms in C-type neurons (P < 0.05). A second, slower time constant of 682 +/- 83 ms was observed in A-type neurons and 957 +/- 122 ms in C-type neurons. 4. A- and C-type neurons differed in the amplitude of IH. The mean magnitude of IH at -110 mV was -2338 +/- 258 pA in A-type neurons but only -241 +/- 40 pA (P < 0.001) in C-type neurons. This disparity persisted when currents were normalized for capacitance. The reversal potentials for IH were -39 +/- 4 mV for A-type neurons and -37 +/- 5 mV for C-type neurons (P > 0.05). 5. During current clamp recording IH caused time-dependent rectification in response to hyperpolarizing current injections from the resting membrane potential. CsCl abolished the rectification and hyperpolarized the resting potential of A-type neurons from -55 +/- 3 mV to -61 +/- 4 mV and C-type neurons from -62 +/- 2 mV to -71 +/- 3 mV. Taken together, the results in these studies indicate that IH contributes to the resting membrane potential in all nodose neurons.

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