Effects of extracellular potassium on ventricular automaticity and evidence for a pacemaker current in mammalian ventricular myocardium

Circulation Research
B Katzung, J A Morgenstern

Abstract

Automaticity was induced in isolated guinea pig and cat papillary muscles by application of depolarizing constant current pulses. Increasing extracellular potassium from 1 to 15 mM caused a shift of pacemaker-like activity to less negative diastolic potentials and a decrease in maximum phase 4 slope. Membrane resistance, estimated from the relation of applied current to maximum diastolic potential, decreased when extracellular potassium was increased. Voltage clamps of cat papillary muscle demonstrated that action potentials activate a time-dependent outward current which has a reversal potential of -79.1 mV (+/- 0.99 SE, n = 20) at an extracellular potassium concentration of 5 mM. The reversal potential of this current varies with extracellular K+ with a slope of 50-60 mV per 10-fold concentration change. The current is activated by voltage clamps or action potential plateaus in the range of -30 to +30 mV. It has a time constant of deactivation which increases from approximately 100 to over 400 msec as clamp potential is increased from -90 to -60 mV. It is proposed that this current is equivalent to Ix1 demonstrated in other cardiac tissues and is responsible, in combination with inward currents, for automaticity in ventricula...Continue Reading

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