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Carotid body chemosensory responses in mice deficient of TASK channels

AuthorsOrtega-Sáenz, Patricia; Levitsky, Konstantin L.; Marcos-Almaraz, María T.; Bonilla-Henao, Victoria; Pascual Bravo, Alberto ; López-Barneo, José
KeywordsCarotid body
Task channels
Glomus cells
Issue Date29-Mar-2010
PublisherRockefeller University Press
CitationJournal of General Physiology 135(4): 379-392 (2010)
AbstractBackground K+ channels of the TASK family are believed to participate in sensory transduction by chemoreceptor (glomus) cells of the carotid body (CB). However, studies on the systemic CB-mediated ventilatory response to hypoxia and hypercapnia in TASK1- and/or TASK3-deficient mice have yielded conflicting results. We have characterized the glomus cell phenotype of TASK-null mice and studied the responses of individual cells to hypoxia and other chemical stimuli. CB morphology and glomus cell size were normal in wild-type as well as in TASK1−/− or double TASK1/3−/− mice. Patch-clamped TASK1/3-null glomus cells had significantly higher membrane resistance and less hyperpolarized resting potential than their wild-type counterpart. These electrical parameters were practically normal in TASK1−/− cells. Sensitivity of background currents to changes of extracellular pH was drastically diminished in TASK1/3-null cells. In contrast with these observations, responsiveness to hypoxia or hypercapnia of either TASK1−/− or double TASK1/3−/− cells, as estimated by the amperometric measurement of catecholamine release, was apparently normal. TASK1/3 knockout cells showed an enhanced secretory rate in basal (normoxic) conditions compatible with their increased excitability. Responsiveness to hypoxia of TASK1/3-null cells was maintained after pharmacological blockade of maxi-K+ channels. These data in the TASK-null mouse model indicate that TASK3 channels contribute to the background K+ current in glomus cells and to their sensitivity to external pH. They also suggest that, although TASK1 channels might be dispensable for O2/CO2 sensing in mouse CB cells, TASK3 channels (or TASK1/3 heteromers) could mediate hypoxic depolarization of normal glomus cells. The ability of TASK1/3−/− glomus cells to maintain a powerful response to hypoxia even after blockade of maxi-K+ channels, suggests the existence of multiple sensor and/or effector mechanisms, which could confer upon the cells a high adaptability to maintain their chemosensory function.
Description14 páginas, 9 figuras, 1 tabla.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1085/jgp.200910302
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