Properties of K-currents in unmyelinated presynaptic axons of brain revealed by extracellular polarisation

  • Scholfield C
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Thin pial surface slices of guinea-pig olfactory cortex contain unmyelinated axons derived from the lateral olfactory tract (LOT). The severed ends of the groups of these axons were drawn into a suction electrode to record the currents resulting from propagated action potentials. On stimulating these unmyelinated axons, a tetrodotoxin-sensitive positive current of 22.5 ± 3.0 nA was recorded by the suction electrode. The positive current was often followed by a small negative current. A 100 mV positive polarisation applied to the suction electrode revealed a large negative after-current (25.8 ± 3.5 nAs. In contrast, the positive current was slightly reduced by the polarisation. The early phases of the negative after-current induced by the electrode polarisation were blocked by 3,4-diaminopyridine, 4-aminopyridine or 2,3-diaminopyridine (in order of potency). The entire negative after-current was blocked by prolonged (3 h) equilibration in a medium containing 3.5 mmol/l Cs and 1.5 mmol/l K. Tetraethylammonium (TEA) or Ba2+by themselves had little effect. In aminopyridine, the residual negative after-current was blocked by TEA (10 mmol/l) or 1 mmol/l Ba2+. Muscarinic agonists had no effect on these currents. These experiments show that some axonal currents can be revealed by extracellular polarisation and that these axons rely on an 'A' type of current for the rapid repolarisation of the membrane although slower K-channels are present. © 1990.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Afferent axon
  • Aminopyridine
  • Apamin
  • Barium
  • Ca-activated K-current
  • K-current
  • Olfactory cortex
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Unmyelinated axon

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  • C. N. Scholfield

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