Cell swelling activates K+ and Cl- channels as well as nonselective, stretch-activated cation channels in Ehrlich ascites tumor cells

J Membr Biol. 1992 Jul;129(1):13-36. doi: 10.1007/BF00232052.


Cell-attached patch-clamp recordings from Ehrlich ascites tumor cells reveal nonselective cation channels which are activated by mechanical deformation of the membrane. These channels are seen when suction is applied to the patch pipette or after osmotic cell swelling. The channel activation does not occur instantaneously but within a time delay of 1/2 to 1 min. The channel is permeable to Ba2+ and hence presumably to Ca2+. It seems likely that the function of the nonselective, stretch-activated channels is correlated with their inferred Ca2+ permeability, as part of the volume-activated signal system. In isolated inside-out patches a Ca(2+)-dependent, inwardly rectifying K+ channel is demonstrated. The single-channel conductance recorded with symmetrical 150 mM K+ solutions is for inward current estimated at 40 pS and for outward current at 15 pS. Activation of the K+ channel takes place after an increase in Ca2+ from 10(-7) to 10(-6) M which is in the physiological range. Patch-clamp studies in cell-attached mode show K+ channels with spontaneous activity and with characteristics similar to those of the K+ channel seen in excised patches. The single-channel conductance for outward current at 5 mM external K+ is estimated at about 7 pS. A K+ channel with similar properties can be activated in the cell-attached mode by addition of Ca2+ plus ionophore A23187. The channel is also activated by cell swelling, within 1 min following hypotonic exposure. No evidence was found of channel activation by membrane stretch (suction). The time-averaged number of open K+ channels during regulatory volume decrease (RVD) can be estimated at 40 per cell. The number of open K+ channels following addition of Ca2+ plus ionophore A23187 was estimated at 250 per cell. Concurrent activation in cell-attached patches of stretch-activated, nonselective cation channels and K+ channels in the presence of 3 mM Ca2+ in the pipette suggests a close spatial relationship between the two channels. In excised inside-out patches (with NMDG chloride on both sides) a small 5-pS chloride channel with low spontaneous activity is observed. The channel activity was not dependent on Ca2+ and could not be activated by membrane stretch (suction). In cell-attached mode single-channel currents with characteristics similar to the channels seen in isolated patches are seen. In contrast to the channels seen in isolated patches, the channels in the cell-attached mode could be activated by addition of Ca2+ plus ionophore A23187.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Barium / physiology
  • Calcimycin / pharmacology
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / physiopathology
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / ultrastructure
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Chlorides / metabolism*
  • Electric Conductivity / physiology
  • Hypotonic Solutions
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / ultrastructure
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Chlorides
  • Hypotonic Solutions
  • Ion Channels
  • Potassium Channels
  • Barium
  • Calcimycin
  • Calcium