Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Rate of action of tetraethylammonium ions on the duration of action potentials in single Ranvier nodes

  • 25 Accesses

  • 17 Citations


  1. 1.

    The experiments were done on single superfused nodes of Ranvier of frog motor fibres (Rana esculenta) with the double air gap method. The node was stimulated at a rate of 80 impulses/sec and the maximum rate of rise (\(\dot V_A \)) and the duration (D) of the action potentials were recorded.

  2. 2.

    The perfusate was suddenly changed from a Na-poor solution without tetraethylammonium (TEA) to a Na-rich solution containing 1 mM TEA. From the increase in\(\dot V_A \) the time course of [Na] o and, indirectly, of [TEA] o at the membrane was obtained. The latter change was compared with the rate of TEA action as reflected by the increase inD. Onset of the TEA effect was clearly slower than the change of drug concentration while on washout,D responded immediately to the decrease of [TEA] o .

  3. 3.

    Comparable rates of onset and offset of the effect were observed when 1 mM TEA was applied at constant [Na] o . The rate of onset was not increased by applying 5 mM TEA; on washoutD declined more slowly than in the experiments with 1 mM TEA.

  4. 4.

    The comparatively slow rate of onset is tentatively explained by a secondary process. The rate of offset, however, is determined by the rate at which TEA diffuses away (time constant of about 50 msec) implying a rapid dissociation of a TEA complex with a receptor on the outer membrane surface.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bieger, D., Krüger-Thiemer, E., Lüllmann, H., Ziegler, A.: The rate of action of cholinergic drugs in guinea-pig isolated atria. Europ. J. Pharmacol.9, 156–162 (1970).

  2. Hille, B.: The selective inhibition of delayed potassium currents in nerve by tetraethylammonium ion. J. gen. Physiol.50, 1287–1302 (1967).

  3. —: Ionic channels in nerve membranes. Progr. Biophys.21, 1–32 (1970).

  4. Koppenhöfer, E.: Die Wirkung von Tetraäthylammoniumchlorid auf die Membranströme Ranvierscher Schnürringe vonXenopus laevis. Pflügers Arch. ges. Physiol.293, 34–55 (1967).

  5. —, Vogel, W.: Wirkung von Tetrodotoxin und Tetraäthylammoniumchlorid an der Innenseite der Schnürringsmembran vonXenopus laevis. Pflügers Arch.313, 361–380 (1969).

  6. Paton, W. D. M., Waud, D. R.: A quantitative investigation of the relationship between rate of access of a drug to receptor and rate of onset or offset of action. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. exp. Path. Pharmak.248, 124–143 (1964).

  7. ——: The margin of safety of neuromuscular transmission. J. Physiol. (Lond.)191, 59–90 (1967).

  8. Schmidt, H., Stämpfli, R.: Die Wirkung von Tetraäthylammoniumchlorid auf den einzelnen Ranvierschen Schnürring. Pflügers Arch. ges. Physiol.287, 311–325 (1966).

  9. Stanfield, P. R.: The effect of tetraethylammonium ion on the delayed currents of frog skeletal muscle. J. Physiol. (Lond.)209, 209–229 (1970a).

  10. —: The differential effects of tetraethylammonium and zinc ions on the resting conductance of frog skeletal muscle. J. Physiol. (Lond.)209, 231–256 (1970b).

  11. Vierhaus, J., Ulbricht, W.: Effect of a sudden change in sodium concentration on repetitively evoked action potentials of single nodes of Ranvier. Pflügers Arch.326, 76–87 (1971).

  12. Waud, D. R.: Pharmacological receptors. Pharmacol. Rev.20, 49–88 (1968).

Download references

Author information

Additional information

This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vierhaus, J., Ulbricht, W. Rate of action of tetraethylammonium ions on the duration of action potentials in single Ranvier nodes. Pflugers Arch. 326, 88–100 (1971). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00586796

Download citation


  • Ranvier Node
  • TEA Effect
  • Rate of TEA Action
  • Receptor Kinetics


  • Ranvierscher Schnürring
  • TEA-Wirkung
  • TEA-Wirkgeschwindigkeit
  • Receptorkinetik