The effect of calcium injection on the intracellular sodium and pH of snail neurones

R W Meech, R C Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


1. Ion-sensitive glass micro-electrodes were used to measure the intracellular pH (pHi) and the intracellular sodium ion concentration, [Na+]i, in identified Helix aspersa neurones. 2. The injection of small volumes of 0-1 McaCl2, which increased the membrane potential by 10-15 mV for 1-2 min, had little or no effect on [Na+]i. Increases of up to 1 mM in [Na+]i could be reversibly induced by larger injections. 3. Calcium injection caused an immediate decrease in pHi, which appeared to be directly proportional to the amount of calcium injected. Injections causing hyperpolarizations of 10-20 mV which recovered in 2-5 min caused pHi decreases of 0-04-0-15 units. After each of these injections both pHi and the membrane potential recovered exponentially but with different time constants. 4. The injection of calcium at a low rate could decrease pHi without affecting the membrane potential. 5. Neither membrane potential nor pHi were affected by the injection of small volumes of 0-1 M-MgCl2, Injection of CoCl2 produced a large transient decrease in pHi but no significant change in membrane potential. 6. Exposure of the cell to saline equilibrated with 2-5% CO2 greatly reduced the pHi decrease caused by calcium injection but had only small effects on the membrane potential response. 7. It is concluded that most of the injected calcium is exchanged for protons inside the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-79
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1977


  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Helix (Snails)
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Neurons
  • Sodium
  • Time Factors

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