Effects of internal potassium and sodium on the anomalous rectification of the starfish egg as examined by internal perfusion

J Physiol. 1979 Jul;292:251-65. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1979.sp012849.


1. The effects of alterations of the intracellular ionic composition on the properties of anomalous (or inward) rectification of the egg membrane of the starfish, Mediaster aequalis, were studied by using an intracellular perfusion technique. The following results were obtained, analysing the membrane current with the voltage-clamp technique. 2. The inward rectification of the K conductance depends only on the membrane potential, V, when the K equilibrium potential, VK, is altered by changing the internal K+ concentration at a fixed external K+ concentration, while it depends on V-VK when VK is altered by changing the external K+ at a fixed internal K+ concentration. 3. From the above the conclusion is reached that the gating of the K channel of the inward rectification depends on V and external but not internal K+ concentration. 4. The conductance of the K channel at a given voltage is roughly proportional to the square root of [K+]i when the latter is altered at a fixed external K+ concentration. 5. Since the conductance is proportional to the square root of [K+]o when this is altered at a fixed internal K+ concentration, the final conclusion is that this conductance is proportional to the geometric mean of the external and internal K+ concentrations. 6. Intracellular Na+ ions are necessary for the activation of inward rectification; the K conductance increases sharply with internal Na+ concentration, reaching saturation at 200 mM. 7. A similar potentiating effect is found for Li+, although it is weaker. Rb+, Cs+ and organic cations such as arginine+ do not have this effect.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Ovum / physiology*
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Potassium / physiology*
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sodium / physiology*
  • Starfish / physiology*


  • Ion Channels
  • Sodium
  • Potassium