Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 405, Issue 2, pp 91–101 | Cite as

Slow calcium and potassium currents in frog skeletal muscle: their relationship and pharmacologic properties

  • P. T. Palade
  • W. Almers
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


Slow Ca and K currents across frog skeletal muscle membrane were recorded with the Vaseline gap voltage clamp in order to investigate block by divalent cations and various organic compounds. Cd2+, Ni2+, Co2+, Mn2+, Mg2+ all block Ca currents, as do barbiturates, D-600 and nifedipine. Local anesthetics also block Ca currents, with the impermeant quaternary lidocaine derivative, QX-314, being more than an order of magnitude less potent than its permeant parent compound. Surprisingly, all agents that blocked Ca currents also blocked the slow K currents. To explain this pharmacologic parallel, one could suggest that K current is activated by Ca2+ appearing in the myoplasm due to the combination of Ca current and release from internal stores. While possibly correct for intact fibres, this hypothesis appears not to apply in our case where the myoplasm contained the Ca chelator EGTA at high concentration. Instead, K currents seem to be activated by a decrease in external [Ca2+]. In the transverse tubules, Ca current is known to cause [Ca2+] to decline to submicromolar concentrations, and evidence is presented that K currents are activated by Ca depletion from a restricted extracellular space. It is suggested that K currents flow through Ca channels that have become capable of passing monovalent cations after the tubules have become depleted of Ca2+.

Key words

Ca channels D-600 Local anesthetics Barbiturates Dihydropyridines 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. T. Palade
    • 1
  • W. Almers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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