Central Role of Subthreshold Currents in Myotonia

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It is generally thought that muscle excitability is almost exclusively controlled by currents responsible for generation of action potentials. We propose that smaller ion channel currents that contribute to setting the resting potential and to subthreshold fluctuations in membrane potential can also modulate excitability in important ways. These channels open at voltages more negative than the action potential threshold and are thus termed subthreshold currents. As subthreshold currents are orders of magnitude smaller than the currents responsible for the action potential, they are hard to identify and easily overlooked. Discovery of their importance in regulation of excitability opens new avenues for improved therapy for muscle channelopathies and diseases of the neuromuscular junction. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:175–183.



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