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Measurements of membrane potential and resistance have been made in zona-free hamster eggs. The resting potential lay in the range -9 to -100 mV and the input resistance fell in the range 14 to 440 M omega; high resting potentials were associated with large input resistances. Calcium injected ionophoretically into an egg from an intracellular micro-electrode caused a reduction of the membrane resistance. The estimated reversal potential for the calcium-evoked response was about -80 mV and its amplitude depended on the extracellular concentration of potassium but not on the chloride concentration. We conclude that membrane potassium channels open in response to a rise in the cytosolic concentration of calcium ions. Evidence is presented to suggest that micro-electrode recordings of the membrane potential and resistance of eggs suffer from an impalement leak artifact. The presence of the artifact lowers the resting potential and resistance of the cell so that intracellular calcium injection causes a hyperpolarization. We conclude that a hyperpolarizing response to calcium would be unlikely in the absence of an impalement artifact.


Journal article


Q J Exp Physiol

Publication Date





687 - 700


Animals, Calcium, Cricetinae, Electric Conductivity, Female, Ion Channels, Iontophoresis, Membrane Potentials, Ovum, Potassium