, Volume 421, Issue 2-3, pp 283-285

Glutathione accelerates sodium channel inactivation in excised rat axonal membrane patches

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The effects of glutathione were studied on the gating behaviour of sodium channels in membrane patches of rat axons. Depolarizing pulses from −120 to −40 mV elicited sodium currents of up to 500 pA, indicating the simultaneous activation of up to 250 sodium channels. Inactivation of these channels in the excised, inside-out configuration was fitted by two time constants (τ h1=0.81 ms; τ h2= 5.03 ms) and open time histograms at 0 mV revealed a biexponential distribution of channel openings (τ short=0.28 ms; τ long=3.68 ms). Both, the slow time constant of inactivation and the long lasting single channel openings disappeared after addition of the reducing agent glutathione (2–5 mM) to the bathing solution. Sodium channels of excised patches with glutathione present on the cytoplasmatic face of the membrane had inactivation kinetics similar to channels recorded in the cell-attached configuration. These observations indicate that redox processes may contribute to the gating of axonal sodium channels.