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Could silicon oil block Na+ ion channels in the membrane of an axon and prevent Na+ influx?

I have been wondering if Na+ influx could have been a diluting factor in anterograde fills. If so, could coating the axon with silicon oil prevent this?

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  • $\begingroup$ Why not directly using a Na+ channel blocker then? $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Aug 21, 2012 at 15:20

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No, silicon oil couldn't block an ion channel. Oil is a nonpolar substance, just like the membrane lipids, so if you can get your oil to that cell, it will mix with the lipids within the membrane. The ion channel, which sits in the membrane, too, is rather closed to the membrane interior and opens to the inside and outside of the cell which, contrarily, is a polar solution of soluble molecules in water. So, to block one of the openings you better have a polar molecule that is water-soluble.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_channel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarity_%28chemistry%29

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I think I see thank you. I wanted to figure out a less toxic way of blocking the Na+ pumps than say... TTX. $\endgroup$
    – CEM
    Aug 23, 2012 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ Things behave unexpectedly when you're at molecular size. Unfortunately, there are precious few videos with animations that could give a feel for it. Now, there is the next question. $\endgroup$
    – R Stephan
    Aug 23, 2012 at 6:38

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