Membrane properties of rat and chick myotubes in various stages of development were studied. Resting membrane potentials (Em) increased from -8 to -55 mV in both rat and chick as the myotubes developed from myoblasts to large multinucleated fibers. In the rat myotubes, this increase was not accompanied by significant changes in specific membrane resistivity or changes in Na+ and K+ ion distribution. Nor have we observed a significant electrogenic component to the resting Em of mature rat myotubues under normal circumstances. A progressive increase in the passive permeability of the membrane to K+ relative to Na+ ions has been observed which can account for the changes in Em with development. In contrast to the changes in the ionic selectivity of the membrane, we have found that the ionic selectivity of the ACh receptor of rat and chick myotubes remains constant during the same period of myotube development.

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