The potency and specificity of a novel organic I h current blocker DK-AH 268 (DK, Boehringer) was studied in cultured rat trigeminal ganglion neurons using whole-cell patch-clamp recording techniques. In neurons current-clamped at the resting potential, the application of 10 μm DK caused a slight hyperpolarization of the membrane potential and a small increase in the threshold for action potential discharge without any major change in the shape of the action potential. In voltage-clamped neurons, DK caused a reduction of a hyperpolarization-activated current. Current subtraction protocols revealed that the time-dependent, hyperpolarization-activated currents blocked by 10 μm DK or external Cs+ (3 mm) had virtually identical activation properties, suggesting that DK and Cs+ caused blockade of the same current, namely I h . The block of I h by DK was dose-dependent. At the intermediate and higher concentrations of DK (10 and 100 μm) a decrease in specificity was observed so that time-independent, inwardly rectifying and noninactivating, voltage-gated outward potassium currents were also reduced by DK but to a much lesser extent than the time-dependent, hyperpolarization-activated currents. Blockade of the time-dependent, hyperpolarization-activated currents by DK appeared to be use-dependent since it required hyperpolarization for the effect to take place. Relief of DK block was also aided by membrane hyperpolarization. Since both the time-dependent current blocked by DK and the Cs+-sensitive time-dependent current behaved as I h , we conclude that 10 μm DK can preferentially reduce I h without a major effect on other potassium currents. Thus, DK may be a useful agent in the investigation of the function of I h in neurons.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 1997
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