Characteristics of the inward current and its changes following fertilization in hamster eggs

햄스터 난자에서 관찰되는 내향전류의 성상과 수정후의 변화

  • Han, Jae-hee (Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Hong, Seong-geun (Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University)
  • Received : 1998.03.15
  • Published : 1998.06.25


Voltage-sensitive ion channels contribute to establishment of the cell excitablity and the generation of the cellular function. At hamster oocytes in the primitive stage during developing process, an inward current elicited by voltage pulses was found to be carried mainly by $Ca^{2+}$. Even at present, $Ca^{2+}$ channels serve as the most probable route to pass this inward current but there is no evidence of the presence of this channels in eggs. To date, both the characteristic properties and the physiological role in the early stage of development remain unclear. Here we examined the characteristic properties of the inward current and changes in this currents at unfertilized oocytes, fertilized zygotes and two-cell embryos using whole-cell voltage clamp technique. The inward current carried reportedly by $Ca^{2+}$ was remained following removing external $Ca^{2+}$ but completely abolished by further replacement of impermeants such as tetramethylammonium ion ($TMA^+$) or $choline^+$ instead of $[Na^+]_0$. Tetrodotoxin did not affect on this inward current remained at $[Ca^{2+}]_0$-free condition. Removal of $Na^+$ ion out of the experimental solution clearly decreased the current. After adding 2mM $Ca^{2+}$ to the $Na^+$-free media, the inward current was restored. Interestingly, this current carried by either $Ca^{2+}$ or $Na^+$ was decreased by the reduction of intracellular $Cl^-$ concentration, or by $Cl^-$ channel blockers such as niflumic acid, DIDS and SITS. When $Cl^-$ concentration was lowered without changes in other ionic components, this inward current was reduced. At fertilized oocytes and two-cell embryos, the inward current carried by $Ca^{2+}$ and $Na^+$ was severely reduced. Also $Cl^-$ component could not be observed. From these results, the inward current is composed of $Ca^{2+}$, $Na^+$ and $Cl^-$ component, suggesting that the channel carrying this inward current is not selective specifically to $Ca^{2+}$. During early stage of development, the voltage-sensitive ion current seems not to contribute essentially to the cell cleavage and differentiation. The loss of $Cl^-$ component after fertilization suggests that $Cl^-$ may play a role in maintaining the viability of unfertilized ova.