A "slow" inward current (Is) has been identified in ventricular muscle and Purkinje fibers of several mammalian species. The two-microelectrode voltage clamp technique is used to examine some of the relationships between Is and contraction of the sheep cardiac Purkinje fiber. "Tails" of inward current occurring on repolarization and extrapolation of Is recovery each show that the Is system may not inactivate completely during prolonged depolarization. The rate of recovery of Is after a depolarization is slow, and when a train of 300-ms clamps (frequency 1 s-1) is begun after a rest, Is is larger for the first clamp than it is for succeedings clamps. For the first clamp after a rest, the thresholds for Is and tension are the same and there is a direct correlation between peak tension and peak Is for clamp voltages between threshold and minus 40 mV. After a clamp, however, the ability to contract recovers much more slowly than does Is. Therefore, since Is may occur under certain conditions without tension, the realtionship between Is and tension must be indirect. Calcium entering the cell via this current may replenish or augment an intracellular calcium pool.

This content is only available as a PDF.