Outward rectifying potassium currents are the dominant voltage activated currents present in Deiters' cells
Nenov, A.P.; Chen, C.; Bobbin, R.P.
Hearing Research 123(1-2): 168-182
ISSN/ISBN: 0378-5955 PMID: 9745965 Accession: 009143659
Supporting cells in the cochlea are thought to maintain the homeostasis of the organ of Corti and contribute to the electrical and micromechanical environment of the hair cells. Of the different types of supporting cells, Deiters' cells form a structure that holds the outer hair cells (OHCs) at their base and apex. This structure may play an important role in modifying cochlear mechanics by influencing the force produced by sound induced motion of the OHCs which in turn may be modulated by ATP acting on ligand gated cation channels on the Deiters' cells. Also, a glia-like role of buffering external K+ concentration for the Deiters' cells has been suggested. We studied Deiters' cells' electrical properties and ion conductances using the whole cell variant of the patch clamp technique since they must play an important role in the function of these cells. It was found that isolated Deiters' cells posses a large voltage activated, outwardly rectifying K+ selective conductance. Voltage activated Ca2+ currents and non-selective currents were not detected and voltage activated inward currents were very small. The outward K+ currents were found to be dependent on voltage but not on Ca2+ for their activation. Nimodipine and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) were shown to interact directly with the K+ channels in a voltage dependent manner. It is suggested that the K+ selective channels in Deiters' cells may be similar to the Kv1.5 type channel. However, based on the voltage dependence of the channels that was described by double Boltzmann equation and on the alteration of that dependence by 4-AP, it is possible that more than one type of K+ selective channel exists.