Potassium current oscillations across the rabbit lens epithelium

Lawrence J. Alvarez, Oscar A. Candia, Aldo C. Zamudio

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5 Scopus citations


Rabbit lenses expressing spontaneous oscillations in translens short- circuit current (I(sc)) are obtained somewhat frequently, with this phenomenon observed in ≃ 30% of isolated lenses as described earlier (Exp. Eye Res. 61, 129-140, 1995). Since pharmacological protocols to consistently elicit I(sc) oscillations were not found, characterizations of the underlying transport processes have been limited to the application of various inhibitors on the spontaneous phenomenon. The present report extends the initial observations by confirming that oscillations are immediately inhibited upon the anterior addition of the Ca2+ channel blocker nifedipine (10 μM), and by demonstrating that other treatments which should affect epithelial Ca2+ homeostasis are also inhibitory (e.g., Bay K 8644 (10 μM), diltiazem (10 μM), EGTA (2 mM), and Ca2+-free media). Furthermore, I(sc) oscillations are immediately inhibited by the K+ channel blocker, Ba2+, but not by the Na+-K+ pump inhibitor, ouabain. The intracellular Ca2+ mobilizing agents thapsigargin (0.1 μM) or acetylcholine (1 μM) modified but did not permanently inhibit the oscillations, confirming earlier observations. At 50 μM, however, acetylcholine addition was inhibitory, but reversible, for oscillations restarted upon its subsequent removal. In addition, lens oscillations were also characterized under open-circuit conditions with microelectrodes inserted in the superficial cells near the equator of lenses isolated in a divided chamber. The potential difference (PD) across each lens face was recorded, as was the translens PD (PD(t)), which equals the difference between the PDs across each lens surface. Oscillations in PD(t) were obtained in 7 of 26 lenses. The oscillations arose only from an oscillation in the PD across the anterior face [PD(a)). While PD(a) and PD(t) oscillated with the same amplitude (≃ 12 mV) and period (≃ 70 sec), the PD across the posterior surface remained stable. During these oscillations the conductance of the anterior surface was maximal at the most positive voltage of the anterior bath with respect to the lens interior (46 mV), whereas, minimal conductance occurred at the least positive PD(a) (34 mV). Overall these observations are consistent with the likely presence of voltage-operated Ca2+ channels in parallel with various Ca2+-sensitive K+ channels in the epithelial basolateral membrane. A model to explain the oscillatory pattern across the anterior face while the PD across the posterior face remains unaltered is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-204
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Calcium channels
  • Calcium-sensitive potassium conductance
  • Electrolyte transport
  • Lens potential
  • Short-circuit current
  • Ussing chamber


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