pH-sensitive inwardly rectifying chloride current in cultured rat cortical astrocytes

Judit K. Makara, Gábor L. Petheö, Attila Tóth, András Spät

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The effect of pHo on plasma membrane chloride current of cultured rat cortical astrocytes was investigated using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. In the presence of intra- and extracellular solutions with symmetrical high Cl- content and K+ channel inhibitors, the cells exhibited an inwardly rectifying current. The current activated slowly at potentials negative to -40 mV and did not display time-dependent inactivation. The current was inhibited by 0.1 mM Cd2+, 0.1 mM Zn2+, 1 mM 9-anthracene-carboxylic acid, and 0.2 mM 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino)benzoic acid, but not by 10 mM Ba2+ or 3 mM Cs+. Reversal potential of the current followed the chloride equilibrium potential and was not influenced by changes in K+ or Na+ concentration. The inwardly rectifying chloride current was augmented by extracellular acidosis and reduced by alkalosis. The pH sensitivity was most pronounced in the physiologically relevant pHo range of 6.9-7.9. Lowering pH to 6.4 induced no additional increase in steady-state current amplitude compared with pHo 6.9, but it substantially slowed the activation kinetics. According to its kinetic and pharmacological properties this chloride current is similar to that found in cultured rat astrocytes after long-term treatment with dibutyryl-cAMP, however, in our cultures it was consistently expressed without any treatment with the drug. Considering that astrocytes possess carbonic anhydrase and Cl-/HCO3- antiporter, this current may participate in the regulation of the interstitial and astrocyte pH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2 2001



  • Astrocytes
  • Chloride current
  • pH sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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