Cell Physiology

Inward rectification in mouse macrophages: evidence for a negative resistance region

E. K. Gallin, D. R. Livengood


The electrical properties of cultured mouse thioglycollate-induced peritoneal macrophages were investigated using intracellular recording techniques. Thirty-five percent of the cells studied had membrane potentials ranging from -65 to -95 mV and exhibited S-shaped, steady-state current-voltage (I-V) relationships containing a transitional region. Analysis of currents in the transitional region from the rate of rise and fall of the voltage responses to current pulses indicated the presence of a negative resistance region in this area. Tetrodotoxin (3 × 10(-5) M), cobalt chloride (3 mM), 4-aminopyridine (4 mM), and tetraethylammonium chloride (8 mM) did not eliminate the transitional region of the I-V curves, whereas addition of barium chloride (4 mM) and rubidium chloride (3 mM) did. Increasing the external concentration of potassium shifted the I-V relationship horizontally along the current axis but did not eliminate the transitional region. These data indicate that the inward rectification and the negative resistance region probably result from a voltage-dependent potassium conductance.