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Measurements have been made of membrane potential and input resistance of zona-free hamster eggs from single micro-electrode recordings. At room temperature (20-23 degrees C) the mean (+/- S.D.) values for the potential and resistance were -30 +/- 8 mV and 280 +/- 130 M omega (n = 94 eggs). At 37 degrees C the mean (+/- S.D.) values for the potential and resistance were -39 +/- 13 mV and 230 +/- 60 M omega (n = 60 eggs). The most negative potential recorded at room temperature was -51 mV in a cell which had an input resistance of 620 M omega. At 37 degrees C six eggs out of sixty had potentials more negative than -50 mV and three of these gave all-or-none action potentials in response to depolarizing current pulses. In a separate series of experiments with high resistance micro-electrodes (ca. 100 M omega) six eggs out of twenty-one had potentials more negative than -50 mV and four of these were electrically excitable. Transient potential recordings during impalement indicated that the potential was more negative than -30 mV but that the insertion of a micro-electrode produced a leak pathway with a resistance of about 10 M omega, substantially smaller than the steady-state estimates of the input resistance (see above). Whole-cell recordings with patch pipettes gave potentials in the range -30 to -80 mV and input resistances in the range 180 to 350 M omega (n = 8); four eggs gave action potentials in response to depolarizing current pulses passed through the patch pipette. It is concluded that the leak impalement artifact is so significant in micro-electrode recordings from hamster eggs that it prevents routine reliable potential measurements.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Q J Exp Physiol

Publication Date

01/1987

Volume

72

Pages

105 - 118

Keywords

Animals, Cricetinae, Electric Conductivity, Female, Kinetics, Membrane Potentials, Mesocricetus, Microelectrodes, Ovum, Temperature, Zona Pellucida