Mode of regulation of the ACh-sensitive K-channel by the muscarinic receptor in rabbit atrial cells

Pflugers Arch. 1984 Apr;400(4):424-31. doi: 10.1007/BF00587544.


The mechanism underlying the regulation of the K-channel by the muscarinic receptor was examined with patch-clamp experiments in atrial cells isolated enzymatically from the rabbit heart. The patch-electrode and the recording chamber were perfused with various solutions while the activity of the K-channels in the membrane-patch was recorded continuously. In the absence of muscarinic agonists, opening of K-channels occurred at a low frequency (basal activity). Application of ACh to the bath did not affect the basal activity, but perfusion of the patch electrode with ACh markedly increased the channel activity in the "cell-attached" patch. Application of oxotremorine, i.e. a specific muscarinic agonist, via the pipette also opened K-channels. When the membrane patch was isolated from the cell body ("inside-out" patch), ACh-induced single K-channel currents were still observed, but the frequency was reduced. Perfusion of atropine or scopolamine, two muscarinic antagonists, through the patch-electrode depressed the basal activity. In the case of scopolamine, channel-activity recovered after washing out the drug. The current voltage relationship determined from the basal activity was similar to that of ACh-induced single K-channel currents. The mean open time was 0.49 ms at basal activity and 1.35 ms during the application of 0.1 microM ACh via the patch electrode. Application of oxotremorine via the pipette hardly affected the open-time, it remained at 99 +/- 4% (n = 7) of the control.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Heart Atria
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Muscarine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / physiology*


  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Muscarine
  • Acetylcholine
  • Potassium