General physiology and biophysics. vol:9 issue:2 pages:89-111
Ion channels were studied in human endothelial cells from umbilical cord by the patch clamp technique in the cell attached mode. Four different types of ion channels were recorded: i) potassium channel current that rectifies at positive potentials in symmetrical potassium solutions (inward rectifier); ii) low-conductance non-selective cation channel with a permeability ratio K:Na:Ca = 1:0.9:0.2; iii) high-conductance cation-selective channel that is about 100 times more permeable for calcium than for sodium or potassium; iv) high-conductance potassium channel with a permeability ratio K:Na = 1:0.05. The extrapolated reversal potential of the inwardly rectifying current was near to the potassium equilibrium potential. The slope conductance decreased from 27 pS in isotonic KCl solution to 7 pS with 5.4 mmol/l KCl and 140 mmol/l NaCl in the pipette but 140 mmol/l KCl in the bath. The low-conductance non-selective cation channel showed a single-channel conductance of 26 pS with 140 mmol/l Na outside, 28 pS with 140 mmol/l K outside, and rectified in inward direction in the presence of Ca (60 mmol/l Ca, 70 mmol/l Na, 2.7 mmol/l K in the pipette) at negative potentials. The current could be observed with either chloride or aspartate as anion. The high-conductance non-selective channel did not discriminate between Na and K. The single-channel conductance was about 50 pS. The extrapolated reversal potential was more positive than +40 mV (140 K or 140 Na with 5 Ca outside). Both the 26 and 50 pS channel showed a run-down, and they rapidly disappeared in excised patches. The high-conductance potassium channel with a single-channel conductance of 170 pS was observed only rarely. It reversed near the expected potassium equilibrium potential. The 26 pS channel could be stimulated with histamine and thrombin from outside in the cell-attached mode. Both the 26 pS as well as the 50 pS channel can mediate calcium flux into the endothelial cell.