Intracellular injection of apamin reduces a slow potassium current mediating afterhyperpolarizations and IPSPs in neocortical neurons of cats

Magdolna B. Szente, Attila Baranyi, Charles D. Woody

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Electrophysiologic effects of intracellularly injected apamin, a Ca2+-dependent K+ channel blocker, were investigated in neurons of the motor cortex of awake cats. Single-electrode voltage clamp techniques were used to measure changes in membrane currents including those that were synaptically activated. All changes occured within 2-4 min after pressure injection of apamin with partial recovery observed within 8-15 min. Apamin selectively abolished an outward current that mediated a slow afterhyperpolarization (AHP) following intracellular depolarizing current pulses and action potentials without influencing the time course of the action potentials or an associated fast AHP component. In addition apamin increased the number and frequency of spike discharges evoked by the depolarizing current pulses and produced a small increase in the rate of background firing activity. The baseline resting potential and input resistance were essentially unchanged by apamin. Apamin also diminished a late, slowly decaying component of inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) and currents (IPSCs) elicited by stimulation of the ventrolateral thalamus or the pyramidal tract. The apamin-induced changes were concomitant with a decrease of the decay time constant of both IPSPs and IPSCs and a positive shift in their reversal potential. The results suggest that the late, slowly decaying component of these inhibitory postsynaptic responses is generated by an apamin-sensitive Ca2+-dependent K+ conductance which is also responsible for the slow AHP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 27 1988



  • Afterhyperperpolarization
  • Apamin
  • Ca-dependent K current
  • Inhibitory postsynaptic response
  • Intracellular injection
  • Neocortex
  • Voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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