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Logo of jgenphysiolHomeThe Rockefeller University PressEditorsContactInstructions for AuthorsThis issue
J Gen Physiol. 1976 August 1; 68(2): 111–125.
PMCID: PMC2228421

Sodium channel selectivity. Dependence on internal permeant ion concentration


The selectivity of sodium channels in squid axon membranes was investigated with widely varying concentrations of internal ions. The selectivity ratio, PNa/PK, determined from reversal potentials decreases from 12.8 to 5.7 to 3.5 as the concentration of internal potassium is reduced from 530 to 180 to 50 mM, respectively. The internal KF perfusion medium can be diluted by tetramethylammonium (TMA), Tris, or sucrose solutions with the same decrease in PNa/PK. The changes in the selectivity ratio depend upon internal permeant ion concentration rather than ionic strength, membrane potential, or chloride permeability. Lowering the internal concentration of cesium, rubidium, guanidnium, or ammonium also reduces PNa/Pion. The selective sequence of the sodium channel is: Na greater than guanidinium greater than ammonium greater than K greater than Rb greater than Cs.

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