Previously, the distribution of ammonia between the intracellular and extracellular compartments has been used to predict a significant depolarisation of the resting membrane potential (E(M)) of white muscle from brown trout (Salmo trutta) exposed to a sub-lethal combination of copper and low pH. However, this prediction is based upon two assumptions (i) a relatively high membrane permeability for the ammonium ion with respect to that for ammonia gas and (ii) that this is unaltered by exposure to copper and low pH. Since there is conflicting evidence in the literature of the validity of these assumptions, in the present study E(M) was directly measured in white muscle fibres of trout exposed to copper and low pH (E(M)=−52.2+/−4.9 mV) and compared with that of unexposed, control animals (E(M)=−86.5+/−2.9 mV) (means +/− s.e.m., N=6). In confirming the predicted depolarisation, these data support the hypothesis of electrophysiological impairment as a factor in the reduction in the swimming performance of trout exposed to these pollutants. In addition, the results of this study support the role of a significant permeability of the muscle membrane to NH(4)(+) in determining the distribution of ammonia in fish.
The resting membrane potential of white muscle from brown trout (Salmo trutta) exposed to copper in soft, acidic water
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M.W. Beaumont, E.W. Taylor, P.J. Butler; The resting membrane potential of white muscle from brown trout (Salmo trutta) exposed to copper in soft, acidic water. J Exp Biol 15 July 2000; 203 (14): 2229–2236. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.203.14.2229
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