Calcium-activated transient membrane currents are carried mainly by chloride ions in isolated atrial, ventricular and Purkinje cells of rabbit heart

Gyula Szigeti, Zoltán Rusznák, László Kovács, Zoltán Papp

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Under physiological conditions, calcium-dependent ([Ca2+](i)-dependent) Cl- currents (I(Cl(Ca)) have been suggested to participate in the repolarizing processes. In this paper, the possible contribution of I(Cl(Ca)) to transient inward currents and, hence to arrhythmias, has been studied in myocytes from the working myocardium and from the conductive system. Single atrial, ventricular and Purkinje cells, isolated enzymatically from rabbit heart, have been studied under whole-cell voltage-clamp and were internally perfused with the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator, fura-2 (100 μM). Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum was either induced by external application of caffeine or occurred spontaneously in Ca2+-overloaded cells. Membrane currents accompanying Ca2+ transients showed linear current-voltage characteristic between -60 and +80 mV as evidenced from fast voltage ramps. When intra- and extracellular Cl- concentrations were kept symmetrical in the absence of the Na+-Ca2+ exchange mechanism, transient currents had a reversal potential close to 0 mV. Reduction of external Cl- concentration shifted this reversal potential towards the new Cl- equilibrium potential. Neither the time course of the transient currents nor the shift in their reversal potentials was significantly affected by the presence of Na+. Approximately 90% of this current was blocked by the application of the Cl- channel blocker, anthracene-9-carboxylic acid (0.5 mM) at +80 mV. It is concluded, that [Ca2+](i)-activated transient membrane currents in atrial, ventricular and Purkinje cells of rabbit heart are mainly due to the activation of a [Ca2+](i)-dependent Cl- current.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-153
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - márc. 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)

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