We show how the antibiotic nystatin may be used in conjunction with microelectrodes to resolve transepithelial conductance Gt into its components: Ga, apical membrane conductance; Gbl, basolateral membrane conductance; and Gj, junctional conductance. Mucosal addition of nystatin to rabbit urinary bladder in Na+-containing solutions caused Gt to increase severalfold to ca. 460 micrometerho/muF, and caused the transepithelial voltage Vt to approach +50 mV regardless of its initial value. From measurements of Gt and the voltage-divider ratio as a function of time after addition or removal of nystatin, values for Ga, Gbl, and Gj of untreated bladder could be obtained. Nystatin proved to have no direct effect on Gbl or Gj but to increase Ga by about two orders of magnitude, so that the basolateral membrane then provided almost all of the electrical resistance in the transcellular pathway. The nystatin channel in the apical membrane was more permeable to cations than to anions. The dose-response curve for nystatin had a slope of 4.6. Use of nystatin permitted assessment of whether microelectrode impalement introduced a significant shunt conductance into the untreated apical membrane, with the conclusion that such a shunt was negligible in the present experiments. Nystatin caused a hyperpolarization of the basolateral membrane potential in Na+-containing solutions. This may indicate that the Na+ pump in this membrane is electrogenic.
The relation between the fine structure, electric field equations, and electric circuit models of skeletal muscle fibers is discussed. Experimental evidence illustrates the profound variation of potential with circumferential position, even at low frequencies (100 Hz). Since one-dimensional cable theory cannot account for such variation, three-dimensional cable theory must be used. Several circuit models of a sarcomere are presented and plots are made of the predicted phase angle between sinusoidal applied current and potential. The circuit models are described by equations involving normalized variables, since they affect the phase plot in a relatively simple way. A method is presented for estimating the values of the circuit elements and the standard deviation of the estimates. The reliability of the estimates is discussed. An objective measure of fit, Hamilton's R test, is used to test the significance of different fits to data. Finally, it is concluded that none of the proposed circuit models provides an adequate description of the observed variation of phase angle with circumferential location. It is not clear whether the source of disagreement is inadequate measurements or inadequate theory.
The linear circuit parameters of 140 muscle fibers in nine solutions are determined from phase measurements fitted with three circuit models: the disk model, in which the resistance to radial current flow is in the lumen of the tubules; the lumped model, in which the resistance is at the mouth of the tubules; and the hybrid model, in which it is in both places. The lumped model fails to fit the data. The disk and hybrid model fit the data, but the optimal circuit values of the hybrid model seem more reasonable. The circuit values depend on sarcomere length. The conductivity of the lumen of the tubules is less than, and varies in a nonlinear manner with, the conductivity of the bathing solution, suggesting that the tubules are partially occluded by some material like basement membrane which restricts the mobility of ions and has fixed charge. The x2.5 hypertonic sucrose solution used in many voltage clamp experiments produces a large increase in the radial resistance, suggesting that control of the potential across the tubular membranes would be difficult to achieve. Glycerol-treated fibers have 90% of their tubular system insulated from the extracellular solution and 10% connected to the extracellular solution through a high resistance. We discuss the implications of our results for calculations of the nonlinear properties of muscle fibers, including the action potential and the radial spread of contraction.