Phasic oscillations of extracellular potassium (K(o)) in pregnant rat myometrium

PloS One
Roger C Young, Gabriela Goloman


K-sensitive microelectrodes were used to measure K(+) within the extracellular space (K(o)) of pregnant rat myometrium. Contractile activity was monitored by measuring either force or bioelectrical signals. Single and double-barreled electrodes were used. Double-barreled electrodes allowed monitoring of electrical activity 15 microns from the site of K(o) measurement. From double-barreled electrode experiments, the bioelectrical burst started first, and then K(o) began to rise 0.6 ± 0.1 seconds later. This delay indicates that K(+) leaves the cells in response to local electrical activity rather than vice versa. Four control experiments were performed to assess the influence of electrical artifacts caused by tissue motion on K(o) values. When observed, artifacts were negative and transient, and hence would result in an underestimation of K(o) rises. Artifacts were minimized when tissue motion was minimized by fixing the tissue at both ends. At 37°C, 7 single barreled experiments and 45 contractions were analyzed. Resting K(o) was within 1 mM of bath K(+) (5 mM) at the beginning and end of the experiments. K(o) rose during the contraction, fell after the completion of the contraction, and normalized before the next contraction b...Continue Reading


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