, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 107-119

Oscillation of the electric potential of frog skin under the effect of Li+: Experimental approach

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When a frog skin is used to separate two compartments, and lithium is added to the external medium, transmembrane electric potential oscillations frequently occur. When no external current is imposed, sustained oscillations, with a period of about 10 min, are maintained for several hours. An oscillation of the Na+ influx accompanies the electric oscillation, though the two oscillations are out of phase to a greater or less extent.

Theophyllin promotes a significant decrease in the mean electric potential of the skin, but it does not affect very much the characteristics of the oscillation. Important factors influencing the oscillation are temperature, permeability of the external membrane to lithium, and potassium concentration in the internal medium. No correlation can be detected between oscilation characteristics and skin area. This suggests that the oscillation is of a local nature, possibly originating at the cellular level. Occurrence of macroscopic oscillations implies coupling between local oscillators. Coupling between two epithelia has been studied under diverse conditions. The coupling is of an electrical nature: by varying the value of the coupling resistance, it is possible to control synchronization of the oscillations.