Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

2015 Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Inward Rectifier Potassium Channels

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6675-8_129



Inward rectifier potassium channels, also called Kir channels are potassium channels which, on the contrary of the other potassium channels, let little potassium ions flow outside of the cell and allow a large inflow of potassium ions inside the cells. In other words, inward rectifier currents present a reduced outward current at membrane potential above the potassium reversal potential and large inward current for membrane potential below the potassium reversal potential.

Detailed Description

First described in skeletal muscle, these channels have been identified in several other cell types: cardiac myocytes, blood cells, osteoclasts, endothelial cells, epithelial cells, oocytes, neurons, and glial cells (for review, see Hibino et al. 2010).

The inward rectifier potassium channels are part of a heterogeneous family of potassium channels named Kir m.n or KCNJ.x. This family can...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theoretical Neurobiology and NeuroengineeringUniversity of AntwerpWilrijkBelgium