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Permeability of alkali metal cations in lobster muscle. A comparison of electrophysiological and osmometric analyses


, : Permeability of alkali metal cations in lobster muscle. A comparison of electrophysiological and osmometric analyses. Journal of General Physiology 51(3): 399-425

Single muscle fibers from lobster walking legs are effectively impermeable to Na, but are permeable to K. They shrink in hyperosmotic NaCl; they swell in low NaCl media which are hyposmotic or which are made isosmotic with the addition of KCl. In conformity, the membrane potential is relatively insensitive to changes in external Na, while it responds according to the Nernst relation for changes in external K. When the medium is made isosmotic or hyperosmotic with RbCl the volume and membrane potential changes are of essentially the same magnitudes as those in media enriched with KCl. The time courses for attaining equilibrium are slower, indicating that Rb is less permeant than K. Substitution of CsCl for NaCl (isosmotic condition) produces no change in volume of the muscle fiber. Addition of CsCl (hyperosmotic condition) causes a shrinkage which attains a steady state, as is the case in hyperosmotic NaCl. Osmotically, therefore, Cs appears to be no more permeant than is Na. However, the membrane depolarizes slowly in Cs-enriched media and eventually comes to behave as an ideal Cs electrode. Thus, the electrode properties of the lobster muscle fiber membrane may not depend upon the diffusional relations of the membrane and ions, and the osmotic permeability of the membrane for a given cation may not correspond with the electrophysiologically deduced permeability. Comparative data on the effects of NH(4) and Li are also included and indicate several other degrees of complexity in the cell membrane.

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PMID: 5648835


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