Temperature dependence of gap junction properties in neonatal rat heart cells

Feliksas F. Bukauskas, Robert Weingart

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39 Scopus citations


Cell pairs of neonatal rat hearts were used to study the influence of temperature on the electrical properties of gap junctions. A dual voltage-clamp method was adopted, which allowed the voltage gradient between the cells to be controlled and the intercellular current flow to be measured. Cell pairs with normal coupling revealed a positive correlation between the conductance of the junctional membranes, gj, and temperature. Cooling from 37° C to 14° C led to a steeper decrease in gj, cooling from 14° C to -2° C to a shallower decrease (37° C: gj=48.3 nS; 14° C: gj=21.4 nS;-2°C: gj=17.5 nS), corresponding to a temperature coefficient, Q10, of 1.43 and 1.14 respectively. The existence of two Q10 values implies that gj may be controlled by enzymatic reactions. When gj was low, i. e. below 5 nS (conditions: low temperature; treatment with 3 mM heptanol), it showed voltage-dependent gating. This property was not visible when gj was large, i. e. 20-70 nS (conditions: high temperature; normal saline), presumably because of series resistances (pipette resistance). Cell pairs with weak intrinsic coupling and normally coupled cell pairs treated with 3 mM heptanol revealed a positive correlation between the conductance of single gap-junction channels, γj, and temperature (37° C: 75.6 pS; -2°C: 19.6 pS), corresponding to a Q10 of 1.41.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalPflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1993



  • Cardiac cells
  • Electrical coupling
  • Gap junctions
  • Neonatal rat heart
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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