Action potential repolarization and a fast after-hyperpolarization in rat hippocampal pyramidal cells

J Physiol. 1987 Apr;385:733-59. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1987.sp016517.


1. The repolarization of the action potential, and a fast after-hyperpolarization (a.h.p.) were studied in CA1 pyramidal cells (n = 76) in rat hippocampal slices (28-37 degrees C). Single spikes were elicited by brief (1-3 ms) current pulses, at membrane potentials close to rest (-60 to -70 mV). 2. Each action potential was followed by four after-potentials: (a) the fast a.h.p., lasting 2-5 ms; (b) an after-depolarization; (c) a medium a.h.p., (50-100 ms); and (d) a slow a.h.p. (1-2 s). Both the fast a.h.p. and the slow a.h.p. (but not the medium a.h.p.) were inhibited by Ca2+-free medium or Ca2+-channel blockers (Co2+, Mn2+ or Cd2+); but tetraethylammonium (TEA; 0.5-2 nM) blocked only the fast a.h.p., and noradrenaline (2-5 microM) only the slow a.h.p. This suggests that two Ca2+-activated K+ currents were involved: a fast, TEA-sensitive one (IC) underlying the fast a.h.p., and a slow noradrenaline-sensitive one (IAHP) underlying the slow a.h.p. 3. Like the fast a.h.p., spike repolarization seems to depend on a Ca2+-dependent K+ current of the fast, TEA-sensitive kind (IC). The repolarization was slowed by Ca2+-free medium, Co2+, Mn2+, Cd2+, or TEA, but not by noradrenaline. Charybdotoxin (CTX; 30 nM), a scorpion toxin which blocks the large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel in muscle, had a similar effect to TEA. The effects of TEA and Cd2+ (or Mn2+) showed mutual occlusion. Raising the external K+ concentration reduced the fast a.h.p. and slowed the spike repolarization, whereas Cl- loading of the cell was ineffective. 4. The transient K+ current, IA, seems also to contribute to spike repolarization, because: (a) 4-aminopyridine (4-AP; 0.1 mM), which blocks IA, slowed the spike repolarization; (b) depolarizing pre-pulses, which inactivate IA, had a similar effect; (c) hyperpolarizing pre-pulses speeded up the spike repolarization; (d) the effects of 4-AP and pre-pulses persisted during Ca2+ blockade (like IA); and (e) depolarizing pre-pulses reduced the effect of 4-AP. 5. Pre-pulses or 4-AP broadened the spike less, and in a different manner, than Ca2+-free medium, Cd2+, Co2+, Mn2+, TEA or CTX. The former broadening was uniform, with little effect on the fast a.h.p., whereas the latter affected mostly the last two-thirds of the spike repolarization and abolished the fast a.h.p.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Aminopyridines / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Charybdotoxin
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Scorpion Venoms / pharmacology
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Time Factors


  • Aminopyridines
  • Ion Channels
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Charybdotoxin
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • 4-Aminopyridine
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Norepinephrine