Dihydropyridines and verapamil inhibit voltage-dependent K+ current in isolated outer hair cells of the guinea pig

Xi Lin, Richard I. Hume, Alfred L. Nuttall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Dihydropyridines and verapamil are widely used as blockers of voltage-dependent Ca++ channels. In this work we show that these compounds can have a direct blocking action on a class of voltage-activated potassium channels. Voltage-dependent whole-cell currents were recorded from isolated guinea-pig outer hair cells (OHCs) under conditions such that the free Ca++ concentration in both the internal and external solutions was minimized. A substantial Ca++-independent K+ current was revealed by this procedure. Both conventional K+ and Ca++ channel ligands inhibited this current. The order of potency (in terms of the half inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of channel inhibitors) was: nimodipine (6 μM) > Bay K 8644 (8 μM) > verapamil (11 μM) >4-aminopyridine (22 μM) > nifedipine (32 μM) > quinine (49 μM) > TEA (10236 μM). Except for verapamil, these channel ligands reduced the size of the K+ currents without much alteration of the time course of the currents. In contrast, verapamil caused a more than 10-fold increase in the apparent inactivation rate of the K+ currents without significantly altering the activation of the currents. The observation that relatively low concentrations of calcium channel ligands can directly inhibit potassium currents in isolated OHCs indicates that caution should be taken when these pharmacological agents are used as tools for studying cochlear hair cell physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Dihydropyridine
  • Guinea pig
  • Outer hair cell
  • Verapamil
  • Voltage-dependent K current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Dihydropyridines and verapamil inhibit voltage-dependent K+ current in isolated outer hair cells of the guinea pig'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this