Potassium currents in cells derived from human dental pulp

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Patch-clamp recording methods were used to monitor ion currents in tissue-cultured cells derived from human dental pulp. Recordings were made in excised, outside-in or whole-cell patches. In single-channel experiments, the majority of patches contained a high-conductance (approx. 140-180 pS) K+-selective ion channel. The probability of the channel being in an open state was dependent on membrane potential, internal calcium and negative pressure applied to the cell membrane. Whole-cell recordings were consistent with these findings; in response to step-wise depolarizations of the cell membrane, most displayed a family of outwardly rectifying, barium-sensitive currents. In addition, a number of patches contained a second class of potassium channel of intermediate (approx. 85-100 pS) conductance, which was largely voltage insensitive and independent of calcium concentration. These results suggest that pulp cells contain a high-conductance potassium channel which probably underlies the outwardly rectifying current found at the whole-cell level. Further, the existence of mechanosensitive channels in these cells raises the possibility that the response to mechanical perturbation of dental pulp may be mediated, in part, by direct effects on odontogenic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-811
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1993


  • dental pulp
  • ion channels
  • mechanotransduction
  • odontoblast
  • potassium selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry
  • Cell Biology


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