Adrenaline: Mechanism of Action on the Pacemaker Potential in Cardiac Purkinje Fibers

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Science  22 Nov 1968:
Vol. 162, Issue 3856, pp. 916-917
DOI: 10.1126/science.162.3856.916


The pacemaker potential in Purkinje fibers is generated by a slow fall in potassium current which allows the inward background currents to depolarize the membrane. Adrenaline shifts the relation between activation of the potassium current and membrane potential in a depolarizing direction. Consequently, during the pacemaker potential, the potassium current falls more rapidly to lower values and the inward currents then depolarize the membrane more quickly. The shift in the potassium activation curve produced by adrenaline is large compared to that produced by calcium ions. The molecular action of adrenaline may involve either a large change in the surface charge of the membrane or a change in the dependence of the potassium permeability on the local electric field.

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