Physiological role of the transient potassium current in the pyloric circuit of the lobster stomatogastric ganglion

J Neurophysiol. 1992 Mar;67(3):599-609. doi: 10.1152/jn.1992.67.3.599.


1. Our experiments were performed to assess the quantitative role of the transient potassium current, IA, in determining the cycle frequency and phasing of neurons in the network generating the pyloric motor rhythm in the stomatogastric ganglion of the spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus. We used 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) to reduce IA and recorded the effects of this treatment on cell activity. 2. In the intact circuit with an actively cycling pyloric rhythm, 4-AP had three major effects on the rhythm. First, the cycle period was decreased approximately 20%. Second, 4-AP enhanced the activity of all cells, causing increases in spikes/burst and spike frequency within bursts. Third, 4-AP altered the phasing of follower cells relative to the onset of the pacemaker (AB/PD) bursts. The lateral pyloric (LP) and pylorics (PYs) were phase advanced by 4-AP, whereas the ventral dilator (VD) was phase delayed. 3. Voltage-clamp studies indicated that pyloric cells differed in the amount of IA they expressed on or near the soma. IA was largest in pyloric dilator (PD) and PY cells, smaller in the anterior burster (AB), LP, and inferior cardiac (IC) cells, and undetectable in the VD cell. When cells were isolated from synaptic input, however, all were excited by 4-AP, suggesting that all possess functionally significant IA. In VD cells, IA-like currents probably occur primarily in nonsomatic cell regions. 4. We measured postinhibitory rebound by determining the delay to the first spike after a series of 200-ms hyperpolarizing prepulses in the PD, PY, LP, VD, and IC cells. In all five cell types, the delay was progressively increased as the potential of the hyperpolarizing prepulse became more negative. This increased delay reflected the removal of IA inactivation. The delay was greatest in the PY cell and least in the IC. In four cells (the PD, PY, LP, and VD) 4-AP decreased the delay to the first spike at all prepulse potentials. In the IC the delay to the first spike was unaffected by 4-AP, suggesting that IA was not responsible for the relatively short delay after hyperpolarizing prepulses. 5. In all five cell types, 4-AP increased the spike frequency for the duration of a 1-s depolarization. The 4-AP-sensitive current responsible for this behavior appears to have very rapid kinetics and may represent a distinct channel subtype. Functionally, this current may act to dampen cell excitability and to reduce spike frequency during bursts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Ganglia / cytology
  • Ganglia / physiology*
  • Microelectrodes
  • Nephropidae / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Pylorus / innervation
  • Stomach / innervation
  • Stomach / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Potassium Channels
  • 4-Aminopyridine