Transient outward current carried by potassium and sodium in quiescent atrioventricular node cells of rabbits.
Single atrioventricular node cells were dispersed by treating the rabbit heart with collagenase. In Tyrode's solution, the cells became rounded, and about 20% of them showed spontaneous activity, whereas the rest remained quiescent. When those quiescent cells were whole-cell clamped, depolarizing clamp pulses from the holding potential of -83 mV induced an outward current which decayed quickly, with a time course similar to that of the transient outward current in the Purkinje fiber. The amplitude of the current became larger when progressively more positive clamp pulses were given from a very negative holding potential. The inactivation time course of this current consisted of two exponential components. Single-channel current recordings from those cells revealed a class of channels that activated more frequently during the initial part of depolarizing pulses. Summation of those unitary currents reproduced activation and inactivation time courses of the macroscopic current well, suggesting that this channel corresponds to the transient outward current. The current-voltage relationship of the channel was linear with the slope conductance of 19.9 +/- 1.8 pS (n = 7), and the reversal potential was near the resting potential of the atrioventricular node cell with 5.4 mM potassium chloride and 134.6 mM sodium chloride in the pipette. The channel was passing mainly potassium ions, but sodium ions also seemed to carry a fraction of the current. The possible role of the transient outward current in the quiescent node cell is discussed.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association