Ouabain stimulates unidirectional and net potassium efflux in resting mammalian skeletal muscle Academic Article uri icon

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  • The present study compared ouabain-sensitive unidirectional K+ flux into (JinK) and out of (JoutK) perfused rat hindlimb skeletal muscle in situ and mouse flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) in vitro. In situ, 5 mM ouabain inhibited 54 +/- 4% of the total JinK in 28 +/- 1 min, and increased the net and unidirectional efflux of K+ within 4 min. In contrast, 1.8 mM ouabain inhibited 40 +/- 8% of the total JinK in 38 +/- 2 min, but did not significantly affect JoutK. In vitro, 1.8 and 0.2 mM ouabain decreased JinK to a greater extent (83 +/- 5%) than in situ, but did not significantly affect 42K loss rate compared with controls. The increase in unidirectional K+ efflux (JoutK) with 5 mM ouabain in situ was attributed to increased K+ efflux through cation channels, since addition of barium (1 mM) to ouabain-perfused muscles returned JoutK to baseline values within 12 min. Perfusion with 5 mM ouabain plus 2 mM tetracaine for 30 min decreased JinK 46 +/- 9% (0.30 +/- 0.03 to 0.16 +/- 0.02 micromol x min(-1) x g(-1)), however tetracaine was unable to abolish the ouabain-induced increase in unidirectional K+ efflux. In both rat hindlimb and mouse FDB, tetracaine had no effect on JoutK. Perfusion of hindlimb muscle with 0.1 mM tetrodotoxin (TTX, a Na+ channel blocker) decreased JinK by 15 +/- 1%, but had no effect on JoutK; subsequent addition of ouabain (5 mM) decreased JinK a further 32 +/- 2%. The ouabain-induced increase in unidirectional K+ efflux did not occur when TTX was perfused prior to and during perfusion with 5 mM ouabain. We conclude that 5 mM ouabain increases the unidirectional efflux of K+ from skeletal muscle through a barium and TTX-sensitive pathway, suggestive of voltage sensitive Na+ channels, in addition to inhibiting Na+/K+-ATPase activity.


  • Hawke, Thomas
  • Lessard, Sarah
  • Vickery, Lisa
  • Lipskie, Shonda L
  • Lindinger, Michael I

publication date

  • November 2001