Ion Permeability and Membrane Potential in Viral Disease

  • C. A. Pasternak
  • C. L. Bashfor
  • M. A. Gray
  • K. J. Micklem


The ionic content of cells is an important determinant of their function. A raised intracellular Na+ in lens cells has been shown to be a direct cause of cataract (Piatigorsky, 1980) and changes in intracellular monovalent cations, as well as in Ca2+ have been implicated in diseases varying from hepatitis (Alam et al., 1978) to hypertension (Reid, 1982; Swales, 1982). Indeed, in many diseases in which the surface membrane of cells is primarily affected, it is an altered cation content that appears to be at fault (Griffin and Pasternak, 1982). Following our observation that certain viruses make cells permeable to low molecular weight compounds and ions without lysis (Pasternak and Micklem, 1973, 1974), we have been studying the effects of viruses on surface membrane function: our aim has been to determine to what extent such changes underly the processes of viral infection and disease. In this report we concentrate on changes in ion permeability and membrane potential.


Membrane Potential Excitable Cell Sendai Virus Semliki Forest Virus Lens Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Pasternak
    • 1
  • C. L. Bashfor
    • 1
  • M. A. Gray
    • 1
  • K. J. Micklem
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistrySt George’s Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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