Letter | Published:

Barbiturate-induced slow outward currents in Aplysia neurones

Nature volume 274, pages 594596 (10 August 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

PREVIOUS studies of barbiturates have failed to show significant effects on voltage-dependent membrane conductances at clinically relevant concentrations1–3. As these drugs have effects on synaptic processes at clinical concentrations, some investigators have concluded that the primary site of action of barbiturates is at the synapse1–5. However, we have found that barbiturates at low concentrations (0.05–0.5 mM) can have profound effects on voltage-sensitive conductances in Aplysia neurones. Barbiturates suppress the ability of these neurones to fire continuously in response to prolonged depolarisation. A voltage-clamp analysis has revealed the membrane currents underlying this effect, indicating that barbiturates act by enhancement of a slowly developing outward current that appears in response to depolarisation of the cell.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physiology, University of New Mexico

    • ILA L. COTE
  2. Departments of Pharmacology and Medicine and Veterans Administration Hospital Epilepsy Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710

    • KERRY L. ZBICZ
    •  & WILKIE A. WILSON

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274594a0

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