Activity-dependent K+ accumulation in the developing rat optic nerve

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Science  18 Jun 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4552, pp. 1341-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.7079771


Potassium-sensitive microelectrodes were used to study activity-dependent changes of extracellular potassium ion concentration ([K+]o) in rat optic nerves of different postnatal ages (1 day to adulthood). The maximum level to which [K+]o rose with optimal frequencies of stimulation depended on age: mean maximum evoked [K+]o was 17.2 microM in 1- to 3-day-old optic nerves and 9.8 microM in adult nerves. The ceiling [K+]o seen in immature optic nerves, which is uniquely large for a mammalian central nervous system structure, may result from a relatively enhanced rate of evoked K+ release.

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