Intramembrane charge movement was recorded in rat and rabbit ventricular cells using the whole-cell voltage clamp technique. Na and K currents were eliminated by using tetraethylammonium as the main cation internally and externally, and Ca channel current was blocked by Cd and La. With steps in the range of -110 to -150 used to define linear capacitance, extra charge moves during steps positive to approximately -70 mV. With holding potentials near -100 mV, the extra charge moving outward on depolarization (ON charge) is roughly equal to the extra charge moving inward on repolarization (OFF charge) after 50-100 ms. Both ON and OFF charge saturate above approximately +20 mV; saturating charge movement is approximately 1,100 fC (approximately 11 nC/muF of linear capacitance). When the holding potential is depolarized to -50 mV, ON charge is reduced by approximately 40%, with little change in OFF charge. The reduction of ON charge by holding potential in this range matches inactivation of Na current measured in the same cells, suggesting that this component might arise from Na channel gating. The ON charge remaining at a holding potential of -50 mV has properties expected of Ca channel gating current: it is greatly reduced by application of 10 muM D600 when accompanied by long depolarizations and it is reduced at more positive holding potentials with a voltage dependence similar to that of Ca channel inactivation. However, the D600-sensitive charge movement is much larger than the Ca channel gating current that would be expected if the movement of channel gating charge were always accompanied by complete opening of the channel.

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