The role of intracellular Ca2+ in the muscarinic suppression of M-current was examined. Intracellular injection of Ca2+ buffer into cells in the intact ganglion reduced the response to muscarinic agonist. In similar experiments on isolated cells, Ca2+ buffer was introduced into the cytoplasm using a perfused recording pipette. Ca2+ buffer (20 mM) with the free Ca2+ concentration set to normal resting levels produced a reversible reduction of the muscarinic response. In a second line of investigation, it was found that pharmacological procedures designed to deplete internal stores of Ca2+ produced a decrease in the muscarinic response. These results, taken together with previous work, support the hypothesis that the muscarinic suppression of M-current is mediated by the release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores.
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