The effects of endolymphatic administration of cromakalim and glibenclamide were tested in isolated semicircular canals of the frog. The actions of the drugs were evaluated by recording: (1) the transepithelial potential between the endolymphatic and the perilymphatic sides of the crista ampullaris; (2) the slow nerve potential from the ampullar nerve; (3) the action potential discharge in afferent ampullar nerve fibres; and (4) the perilympathatic potassium concentration in the fluid bathing the outer surface of the crista ampullaris. The above mentioned parameters were recorded both at rest and during mechanical stimulation of the sensory organ. The results demonstrated that the endolymphatic administration of cromakalim (10(-4) M) produced an increase in both ampullar receptor resting activity and in perilymphatic K+ resting levels. By contrast all the parameters related to the mechanically evoked responses were practically unaffected. Glibenclamide (10(-4) M) proved able to cancel or to prevent cromakalim effects. These data suggest that the membrane of the hair cells is endowed with K+ channels regulated by internal ATP whose activation is mainly involved in the processes sustaining ampullar receptors' resting firing rate.
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