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The possibility that guinea pig pancreatic alpha 2 cells are equipped with more than one type of Ca2+ channel was explored using the patch-electrode voltage-clamp technique. At a holding potential of -100 mV, a slowly developing (tau m approximately 5 ms at -40 mV assuming m2 kinetics) Ca2+ current appeared. This conductance first became detectable at potentials of about -60 mV and reached a maximum amplitude of 50-100 pA between -30 and -20 mV. During long depolarizations, it inactivated completely (tau h approximately 100 ms at -40 mV). Half-maximal steady state inactivation was observed at about -60 mV. A second, more rapidly developing (tau m approximately 2 ms at 0 mV) Ca2+ current was observed during pulses to -40 mV and above. It had a peak amplitude of 150-200 pA between 0 and 10 mV, was less dependent on the holding potential, and inactivated very little, even during long pulses. Both conductances were blocked by Co2+ but were unaffected by tetrodotoxin. The rapidly developing current differed from the slowly developing one in being sensitive to the antagonists D-600 and nifedipine, conducting Ba2+ better than Ca2+, increasing upon exposure to forskolin, and showing time-dependent decay (rundown). These findings indicate that the alpha 2 cells are equipped with two kinds of Ca2+ channels.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Physiol

Publication Date





243 - 254


Animals, Barium, Calcium, Calcium Channel Blockers, Cobalt, Colforsin, Electrophysiology, Gallopamil, Guinea Pigs, Ion Channels, Islets of Langerhans, Membrane Potentials, Nifedipine, Tetrodotoxin