We investigated the role of sodium in megakaryocyte spreading induced by thrombin and ADP. We found that if extracellular sodium was replaced by lithium, potassium, or choline, spreading was inhibited. When extracellular sodium was present, amiloride or tetrodotoxin inhibited spreading. Using intracellular recording we found spreading to be associated with a permanent membrane depolarization. The extent and rate of thrombin-induced depolarization was reduced when lithium replaced sodium. Unspread cells had an average membrane potential of -44.8 mV. Spread cells had an average membrane potential of -18.46 mV. When choline replaced sodium, or when in the presence of tetrodotoxin and amiloride, the spread cells repolarized, indicating that the depolarization is due to an increase in sodium permeability. Similar treatments did not change the membrane potential of unspread cells. Incubation of megakaryocytes with A23187 together with monensin or methylamine induced spreading. Methylamine occasionally caused spreading by itself, but neither ionophore alone caused spreading. These results indicate that megakaryocyte spreading induced by ADP and thrombin depends on an increase in sodium conductance.

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