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, 32 (3), 175-80

Myotonia. An Evaluation of the Chloride Hypothesis

Myotonia. An Evaluation of the Chloride Hypothesis

R L Barchi. Arch Neurol.


The muscle membrane in myotonia congenita is characterized by a normal resting potential with a greatly increased resting resistance usually attributed to a decrease in membrane chloride permeability (PC1). In this report, the hypothesis that decreased PC1 alone can account for the repetitive action potentials of myotonia is tested with a mathematical model of the muscle membrane and is shown to be valid. Reduction of Pc1 to 20% of control values will produce myotonic activity in response to a single stimulus. Membrane resistance and potential approximate those found experimentally. The model predicts that increasing external K+ will aggravate myotonia due to a reduction of PC15 while decreasing Kout will prevent repetitive spiking. Further, myotonia can be prevented by reducing peak membrane sodium permeability or by shifting the voltage dependency of the membrane rate constants for sodium in a depolarizing direction. These results are shown to correlate well with clinical observtonia.

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