Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 427, Issue 1–2, pp 56–63 | Cite as

A calcium-activated nonselective cationic channel in the basolateral membrane of outer hair cells of the guinea-pig cochlea

  • Thierry Van den Abbeele
  • Patrice Tran Ba Huy
  • Jacques Teulon
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


The patch-clamp technique was used to investigate ion channels in the basolateral perilymph-facing membrane of freshly isolated outer hair cells (OHCs) from the guinea-pig cochlea. These sensory cells probably determine, via their motile activity, the fine tuning of sound frequencies and the high sensitivity of the inner ear. A Ca2+-activated nonselective cationic channel was found in excised inside-out membrane patches. The current/voltage relationship was linear with a unit conductance of 26.3±0.3 pS (n=15) under symmetrical inger conditions. The channel excluded anions (PNa/PCl=18 wherePNa/PCl denotes the relative permeability of Na to Cl); it was equally permeant to the Na+ and K+ ions and exhibited a low permeability toN-methyl-D-glucamine and Ba2+ or Ca2+. Channel opening required a free Ca2+ concentration of about 10−6 mol/l on the internal side of the membrane and the open probability (Po) was maximal at 10−3 mol/l (Po=0.72±0.06,n=12). Adenosine 5′mono-, tri- and di-phosphate reducedPo to 29±14 (n=5), 42±10 (n=8) and 51±12 (n=5) % of controlPo, respectively, when they were added at a concentration of 10−3 mol/l to the internal side. The channel was partially blocked by flufenamic acid (10−4 mol/l) and 3′,5′-dichlorodiphenylamine-2-carboxylic acid (DCDPC, 10−5 mol/l). This type of channel, together with Ca2+-activated K+ channels, might participate in the control of membrane potential and modulate the motility of OHCs.

Key words

Inner ear Hair cells Patch-clamp Nonselective cationic channels 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ashmore JF, Meech RW (1986) Ionic basis of membrane potential in outer hair cells of Guinea pig cochlea. Nature 322:368–370Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ashmore JF, Ohmori H (1990) Control of intracellular calcium by ATP in isolated outer hair cells of the guinea pig cochlea. J Physiol (Lond) 428:109–131Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brownell WE, Bader CR, Bertrand D, de Ribaupierre Y (1985) Evoked mechanical responses of isolated cochlear outer hair cells. Science 227:194–196Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brundin L, Wiklund NP, Gustafsson LE, Flock Ä (1992) Functional and morphological comparisons between cochlear outer hair cells and muscle tissues in the guinea pig. Acta Physiol Scand 144:379–386Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Canlon B, Brundin L (1991) Mechanically induced length changes of isolated outer hair cells are metabolically dependent. Hear Res 53:7–16Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Colquhoun D, Neher E, Reuter H, Stevens CF (1981) Inward current channels activated by intracellular Ca in cultured cardiac cells. Nature 294:752–754Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cook DI, Poronnik P, Young JA (1990) Characterization of a 25 pS nonselective cation channel in a cultured secretory epithelial cell line. J Membr Biol 114:37–52Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ding JP, Salvi RJ, Sachs F (1991) Stretch-activated ion channels in guinea pig outer hair cells. Hear Res 56:19–28Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dulon D, Zajic G, Schacht J (1988) Potassium-depolarization induces motility in outer hair cells by an osmotic mechanism. Hear Res 32:123–130Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gitter AH, Zenner HP, Frömter E (1986) Membrane potential and ion channels in isolated outer hair cells of guinea pig cochlea. ORL 48:68–75Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gitter AH, Frömter E, Zenner HP (1992) C-type potassium in the lateral cell membrane of guinea pig outer hair cells. Hear Res 60:13–19Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gögelein H, Dahlem D, Englert HV, Lang HJ (1990) Flufenamic acid, mefenamic acid and niflumic acid inhibit single nonselective cation channels in the rat exocrine pancreas. FEBS Lett 268:79–82Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hamill OP, Marty A, Neher E, Sakmann B, Sigworth FJ (1981) Improved patch-clamp techniques for high resolution current recordings from cells and cell-free membrane patches. Pflügers Arch 391:85–100Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Housley GD, Ashmore JF (1992) Ionic currents of outer hair cells isolated from the guinea pig cochlea. J Physiol (Lond) 448:73–98Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hudspeth AJ (1986) The ionic channels of a vertebrate hair cell. Hear Res 22:21–27Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Iwasa KH, Li M, Jia M, Kachar B (1991) Stretch sensitivity of the lateral wall of the auditory outer hair cell from the guinea pig. Neurosci Lett 133:171–174Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Marcus DC, Takeuchi S, Wangemann P (1992) Ca2+-activated nonselective cation channel in apical membrane of vestibular dark cells. Am J Physiol 262:C1423-C1429Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Marty A, Tan YP, Trautmann A (1984) Three types of calcium-dependent channels in rat lacrimal glands. J Physiol (Lond) 357:293–325Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Maruyama Y, Petersen OH (1982) Cholecystokinin activation of single-channel currents is mediated by internal messenger in pancreatic acinar cells. Nature 300:61–63Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Maruyama Y, Petersen OH (1982) Single-channel currents in isolated patches of plasma membrane from basal surface of pancreatic acini. Nature 299:159–161Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Miller DJ, Smith GL (1984) EGTA purity and the buffering of calcium ions in physiological solutions. Am J Physiol 246:C160-C166Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nagakawa T, Akaike N, Kimitsuki T, Komune S, Arima T (1990) ATP-induced current in isolated outer hair cells of guinea pig cochlea. J Neurophysiol 63:1068–1074Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nagakawa T, Kahehata S, Akaike N, Komune S, Tasakasa T, Uemura T (1991) Calcium channel in isolated outer hair cells of guinea pig cochlea. Neurosci Lett 125:81–84Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Partridge LD, Swandulla D (1987) Single Ca-activated cation channels in bursting neurons of Helix. Pflügers Arch 410:627–631Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Partridge LD, Swandulla D (1988) Calcium-activated nonspecific cation channels. Trends Neurosci 11:69–72Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Paulais M, Teulon J (1989) A cation channel in the thick ascending limb of Henle's loop of the mouse kidney: inhibition by adenine nucleotides. J Physiol (Lond) 413:315–327Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Siemer C, Gögelein H (1992) Activation of nonselective cation channels in the basolateral membrane of rat distal colon crypt cells by prostaglandin E2. Pflügers Arch 420:319–328Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Slepecky N, Ulfendahl M, Flock A (1988) Shortening and elongation of isolated outer hair cells in response to application of potassium gluconate, acetylcholine and cationized ferritin. Hear Res 34:119–126Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sturgess NC, Hales CN, Ashford MLJ (1987) Calcium and ATP regulate the activity of a non-selective cation channel in a rat insulinoma cell line. Pflügers Arch 409:607–615Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Teulon J, Paulais M, Bouthier M (1987) A Ca2+-activated cation-selective channel in the basolateral membrane of the cortical thick ascending limb of Henle's loop of the mouse. Biochim Biophys Acta 905:125–132Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Thorn P, Petersen OH (1992) Activation of nonselective cation channels by physiological cholecystokinin concentrations in mouse pancreatic acinar cell. J Gen Physiol 100:11–25Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Weber A, Siemen D (1989) Permeability of the nonselective channel in brown adipocytes to small cations. Pflügers Arch 414:564–570Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yellen G (1982) Single Ca2+activated non-selective cation channels in neuroblastoma. Nature 296:357–359Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zenner HP, Zimmermann U, Schmtt U (1985) Reversible contraction of isolated mammalian cochlear hair cells. Hear Res 18:127–133Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thierry Van den Abbeele
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrice Tran Ba Huy
    • 2
  • Jacques Teulon
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculté de médecine Necker-Enfants MaladesINSERM U.323ParisFrance
  2. 2.Faculté de médecine LariboisièreLaboratoire d'otologie expérimentaleParisFrance

Personalised recommendations