The effects of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, 1-fluoro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, and 1,5-difluoro-2,4-dinitrobenzene on the electrophysiological properties of cardiac Purkinje fibers were studied. At concentrations of 2.5 mM the aldehydes produced a transient hyperpolarization, lengthening of the plateau of the action potential, and an increase in action potential overshoot and upstroke velocity. If exposure to aldehyde was continued, the fiber failed to repolarize after an action potential and the membrane potential stabilized at about -30 mv. If exposure was terminated before this, recovery was usually complete. At the time the fibers were hyperpolarized the input resistance was increased without much change in length constant, leading to an increase in both calculated membrane resistance and calculated core resistance. Although it was anticipated that an effect of the aldehydes on the membrane was to increase fixed negative charge, it was difficult to explain all the electrophysiological changes on this basis. The major effects of the fluorobenzene compounds were not the same; they produced a shortening of the action potential and a rapid loss of excitability.

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