The relationship between charge movements associated with ICa and INa-Ca in cardiac myocytes

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Science  20 Apr 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4953, pp. 376-378
DOI: 10.1126/science.2158147


Ventricular myocytes exhibit a nifedipine-sensitive inward calcium current (ICa) and contracture when they are voltage clamped from -40 to 0 millivolt in the presence of caffeine and in the absence of extracellular sodium. However, upon repolarization they fail to relax because neither the sarcoplasmic reticulum nor the sodium-calcium exchange can reduce intracellular calcium. Sudden application of extracellular sodium during the contracture (but after repolarization) causes immediate relaxation and activates a transient inward sodium-calcium exchange current (INa-Ca), whose peak slightly precedes mechanical relaxation. The total charge carried by the nifedipine-sensitive ICa is twice the total charge carried by the transient inward INa-Ca. Assuming an exchange stoichiometry of three sodium to one calcium, these results indicate that all the calcium entering the cell during the initial depolarization is extruded by the sodium-calcium exchange.

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