The membrane potential and membrane currents of single canine ventricular myocytes were studied using either single microelectrodes or suction pipettes. The myocytes displayed passive membrane properties and an action potential configuration similar to those described for multicellular dog ventricular tissue. As for other cardiac cells, in canine ventricular myocytes: (a) an inward rectifier current plays an important role in determining the resting membrane potential and repolarization rate; (b) a tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na current helps maintain the action potential plateau; and (c) the Ca current has fast kinetics and a large amplitude. Unexpected findings were the following: (a) in approximately half of the myocytes, there is a transient outward current composed of two components, one blocked by 4-aminopyridine and the other by Mn or caffeine; (b) there is clearly a time-dependent outward current (delayed rectifier current) that contributes to repolarization; and (c) the relationship of maximum upstroke velocity of phase 0 to membrane potential is more positive and steeper than that observed in cardiac tissues from Purkinje fibers.

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