COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Voltage-dependent K+ currents in rat cardiac dorsal root ganglion neurons

R Rola, G Witkowski, P J Szulczyk
Neuroscience 2003, 119 (1): 181-91
12763079
We have assessed the expression and kinetics of voltage-gated K(+) currents in cardiac dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in rats. The neurons were labelled by prior injection of a fluorescent tracer into the pericardial sack. Ninety-nine neurons were labelled: 24% small (diameter<30 microm), 66% medium-sized (diameter 30 microm>.48 microm) and 10% large (>48 microm) neurons. Current recordings were performed in small and medium-sized neurons. The kinetic and pharmacological properties of K(+) currents recorded in these two groups of neurons were identical and the results obtained from these neurons were pooled. Three types of K(+) currents were identified:a) I(As), slowly activating and slowly time-dependently inactivating current, with V(1/2) of activation -18 mV and current density at +30 mV equal to 164 pA/pF, V(1/2) of inactivation at -84 mV. b) I(Af) current, fast activating and fast time-dependently inactivating current, with V(1/2) of activation at two mV and current density at +30 mV equal to 180 pA/pF, V(1/2) of inactivation at -26 mV. At resting membrane potential I(As) was inactivated, whilst I(Af), available for activation. The I(As) currents recovered faster from inactivation than I(Af) current. 4-Aminopiridyne (4-AP) (10 mM) and tetraethylammonium (TEA) (100 mM) produced 98% and 92% reductions of I(Af) current, respectively and 27% and 66% of I(As) current, respectively. c) The I(K) current that did not inactivate over time. Its V(1/2) of activation was -11 mV and its current density equaled 67 pA/pF. This current was inhibited by 95% (100 mM) TEA, whilst 4-AP (10 mM) produced its 23% reduction. All three K(+) current components (I(As), I(Af) and I(K)) were present in every small and medium-sized cardiac DRG neuron. We suggest that at hyperpolarized membrane potentials the fast reactivating I(As) current limits the action potential firing rate of cardiac DRG neurons. At depolarised membrane potentials the I(Af) K(+) current, the reactivation of which is very slow, does not oppose the firing rate of cardiac DRG neurons.

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