The effect of catecholamines on Na-K transport and membrane potential in rat soleus muscle

J Physiol. 1977 Sep;270(2):383-414. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1977.sp011958.


1. The action of catecholamines on the transport and the distribution of Na and K and the resting membrane potential (E(M)) has been investigated in soleus muscles isolated from fed rats.2. In a substrate-free Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer adrenaline (ADR) (6 x 10(-6)M) increased (22)Na efflux by 83%, (42)K influx by 34%, and E(M) by 10%. Similar effects were exerted by noradrenaline (NA), phenylephrine, salbutamol and isoprenaline. The effects of ADR on Na-K transport and E(M) were suppressed by ouabain (10(-3)M) and propranolol (10(-5)M), but not by thymoxamine (10(-5)M) or tetracaine (10(-4)M).3. Following 90 min of incubation in the presence of ADR (6 x 10(-6)M), the intracellular K/Na-ratio was increased threefold. NA produced almost the same change, and both catecholamines seem to induce a new steady-state distribution of Na and K which can be maintained for several hours in vitro.4. The effect of ADR on (22)Na efflux and E(M) could be detected at concentrations down to 6 x 10(-9) and 6 x 10(-10)M, respectively, and half-maximum increase was obtained at around 2 x 10(-8)M. NA was at least one order of magnitude less potent.5. The effect of low concentrations of ADR on (22)Na efflux was potentiated by theophylline (2 mM). When added together, dibutyryl-cyclic AMP and theophylline mimicked the action of ADR on (22)Na efflux, (42)K influx, Na/K content and E(M). Ouabain (10(-3)M) also suppressed the effect of dibutyryl-cyclic AMP and theophylline on Na-K transport.6. Following the addition of ouabain (10(-3)M), E(M) rapidly dropped from a mean of -71 to -63 mV, and then showed a slow linear fall for up to 4hr.7. The hyperpolarization induced by ADR was associated with a decrease in membrane conductance, (22)Na influx and (42)K efflux. The time course and the response to ouabain suggests that all of these effects are secondary to stimulation of the active coupled transport of Na and K.8. It is concluded that in rat soleus muscle, the active Na-K transport is electrogenic and susceptible to stimulation by catecholamines via beta-adrenoceptors. This effect is mediated by adenyl cyclase activation and may account for the increase in E(M) and the intracellular K/Na ratio.

MeSH terms

  • Albuterol / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active / drug effects
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects*
  • Moxisylyte / pharmacology
  • Muscles / drug effects*
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Ouabain / pharmacology
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Tetracaine / pharmacology
  • Theophylline / pharmacology


  • Tetracaine
  • Phenylephrine
  • Ouabain
  • Bucladesine
  • Sodium
  • Propranolol
  • Theophylline
  • Moxisylyte
  • Albuterol
  • Potassium
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine