The antagonistic actions of calcium and magnesium on the superfused ventricle of the snail Helix pomatia

Burton, R.F. and Loudon, J.R. (1972) The antagonistic actions of calcium and magnesium on the superfused ventricle of the snail Helix pomatia. Journal of Physiology, 220(2), pp. 363-381. (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1972.sp009712) (PMID:5014104)

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Abstract

1. The isolated, superfused half-ventricle of the snail (Helix pomatia) maintains a degree of tonic activity even when not beating, since the membrane is depolarized beyond the tension threshold. Beating may be initiated by lateral stretch of the ventricle and by 5-hydroxytryptamine. 2. Ca and Mn each have a hyperpolarizing action, while K and to a lesser extent Na cause depolarization: the tonic activity of the ventricle is affected accordingly. 3. An increase in the extracellular concentration of Mg also causes the tension to fall, but without change in membrane potential. It can also initiate beating. 4. Contractures induced by 30 m M-K are steadily maintained, but start with a more-or-less distinct twitch-like contraction. A contracture induced by a concentration of K above about 50 m M is poorly sustained and is followed by a further brief contracture when the K concentration is reduced to normal. 5. Relations between contracture tension and the concentrations of Ca and Mg accord with the hypothesis that the two ions compete for attachment to a binding site on the cell surface and that tension is proportional to the amount of bound Ca. On this hypothesis, the apparent dissociation constant of the Mg complex is 11·4 m M and that of the Ca complex 0·15 m M or less. 6. This effect of Mg is like that of Na on frog ventricle and some of the differences in the behaviour of snail and frog ventricles are abolished by appropriate adjustment of the extracellular concentrations of these ions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burton, Dr Richard
Authors: Burton, R.F., and Loudon, J.R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Physiology
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0022-3751
ISSN (Online):1469-7793

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