Potassium accumulation around individual purkinje cells in cerebellar slices from the guinea-pig

The Journal of Physiology
J Hounsgaard, Charles Nicholson


K+-selective micropipettes were used to measure external K+ concentration [( K+]o) in the immediate vicinity of Purkinje cells in slices from guinea-pig cerebellum. The cells were either spontaneously active or were polarized via a separate intracellular micro-electrode. The level of [K+]o rose by 1-3 mM around the soma and dendrites of Purkinje cells during spike activity. The increases in [K+]o were usually greater during Ca2+-mediated spikes than during Na+-mediated spikes. This was even true at the soma where the Ca2+ spike only invaded electrotonically from the dendrites, in contrast to the Na+ spikes which were generated at the soma. No [K+]o changes were seen in the vicinity of Purkinje cells when the cells were hyperpolarized with current passage nor was any [K+]o change seen during subthreshold depolarizations. In glial cells, however, a hyperpolarizing current reduced [K+]o while a depolarizing current increased [K+]o in a symmetrical manner. When Ba2+ was substituted for Ca2+ in the bathing Ringer solution, prolonged plateau-potential spikes could be evoked from Purkinje cells. These spikes were accompanied by large [K+]o elevations but the plateau potentials outlasted the [K+]o elevations. These experiments suggest ...Continue Reading


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