Mechanism of frequency-dependent broadening of molluscan neurone soma spikes

J Physiol. 1979 Jun;291:531-44. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1979.sp012829.


1. Action potentials recorded from isolated dorid neurone somata increase in duration, i.e. broaden, during low frequency repetitive firing. Spike broadening is substantially reduced by external Co ions and implicates an inward Ca current. 2. During repetitive voltage clamp steps at frequencies slower than 1 Hz, in 100 mM-tetraethyl ammonium ions (TEA) inward Ca currents do not increase in amplitude. 3. Repetitive action potentials result in inactivation of delayed outward current. Likewise, repetitive voltage clamp steps which cause inactivation of delayed outward current also result in longer duration action potentials. 4. The frequency dependence of spike broadening and inactivation of the voltage dependent component (IK) of delayed outward current are similar. 5. Inactivation of IK is observed in all cells, however, only cells with relative large inward Ca currents show significant spike broadening. Spike broadening apparently results from the frequency dependent inactivation of IK which increases the expression of inward Ca current as a prominent shoulder on the repolarizing phase of the action potential. In addition, the presence of a prolonged Ca current increases the duration of the first action potential thereby allowing sufficient time for inactivation of IK.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cobalt / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Mollusca / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology


  • Ion Channels
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Cobalt
  • Calcium