Volume-activated chloride currents in interstitial cells of Cajal

Sung Jin Park, Catherine M. Mckay, Yaohui Zhu, Jan D. Huizinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) undergo marked morphological changes on contraction of the musculature, making it essential to understand properties of mechanosensitive ion channels. The whole cell patch-clamp technique was used to identify and to characterize volume-activated Cl- currents in ICC cultured through the explant technique. Hypotonic solutions (≈210 mosM) activated an outwardly rectifying current, which reversed near the equilibrium potential for Cl-. Time-dependent inactivation occurred only at pulse potentials of +80 mV, with a time constant of 478 ± 182 ms. The degree of outward rectification was calculated using a rectification index, the ratio between the slope conductances of +65 and -55 mV, which was 13.9 ± 1.5 at 76 mM initial extracellular Cl- concentration. The sequence of relative anion permeability of the outwardly rectifying Cl- channel was I- > Cl- > aspartate-. The chloride channel blockers, DIDS and 5-nitro-2-(3-phenlypropl-amino)benzoic acid, caused a voltage-dependent block of the outwardly rectifying Cl- current, inhibition occurring primarily at depolarized potentials. On exposure to hypotonic solution, the slope conductance significantly increased at the resting membrane potential (-70 mV) from 1.2 ± 0.2 to 2.0 ± 0.4 nS and at the slow-wave plateau potential (-35 mV) from 2.1 ± 0.3 to 5.0 ± 1.0 nS. The current was constitutively active in ICC and contributed to the resting membrane potential and excitability at the slow-wave plateau. In conclusion, swelling or volume change will depolarize ICC through activation of outwardly rectifying chloride channels, thereby increasing cell excitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G791-G797
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5 52-5
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Distension
  • Gut motility
  • Intestinal peristalsis
  • Pacemaker cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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