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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

T-Type and tetrodotoxin-sensitive Ca(2+) currents coexist in guinea pig ventricular myocytes and are both blocked by mibefradil.

Under Na(+)-free conditions, low-voltage-activated Ca(2+) currents in cardiomyocytes from various species have been described either as Ni(2+)-sensitive T-type Ca(2+) current (I(Ca(T))) or as tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive Ca(2+) current (I(Ca(TTX))). So far, coexistence of the 2 currents within the same type of myocyte has never been reported. We describe experimental conditions under which I(Ca(T)) and I(Ca(TTX)) can be separated and studied in the same cell. Rat and guinea pig ventricular myocytes were investigated with the whole-cell voltage-clamp technique in Na(+)-free solutions. Whereas rat myocytes lack I(Ca(T)) and exhibit I(Ca(TTX)) only, guinea pig myocytes possess both of these low-voltage-activated Ca(2+) currents, which are separated pharmacologically by superfusion with TTX or Ni(2+). I(Ca(T)) and I(Ca(TTX)) were of similar amplitude but significantly differed in their electrophysiological properties: I(Ca(TTX)) activated at more negative potentials than did I(Ca(T)), the potential for half-maximum steady-state inactivation was more negative, and current deactivation and recovery from inactivation were faster. I(Ca(TTX)) but not I(Ca(T)) increased after membrane rupture ("run-up"). Isolation of I(Ca(TTX)) by application of the bivalent cation Ni(2+) is critical because of possible shifts in voltage dependence. Therefore, we investigated whether the T-type Ca(2+) channel blocker mibefradil (10 micromol/L) is a suitable tool for the study of I(Ca(TTX)). However, mibefradil not only blocked I(Ca(T)) by 85+/-2% but also decreased I(Ca(TTX)) by 48+/-8%. We conclude that under Na(+)-free conditions I(Ca(T)) and I(Ca(TTX)) coexist in guinea pig ventricular myocytes and that both currents are sensitive to mibefradil. Future investigations of I(Ca(T)) will have to consider the TTX-sensitive current component to avoid possible interference.[1]

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