Nickel is a silvery white metal with a slight golden tinge. It is one of the most common alloys for engines and has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is a strong, ductile transition metal and a harder and more durable material than iron.

It is a member of the lanthanide family and is used in electronics, as well as for a number of other industrial applications including in the aerospace industry. It has a hardness of 70 HRC and is more ductile than steel but tougher than aluminum.

In nature, nickel occurs as minerals in combination with other elements like arsenic, antimony and sulfur. Typical compounds include nickel sulfide, nickel arsenide, nickel antimonide, nickel diarsenide and nickel thioarsenide.

Electrochemically oxidized nickel ions have been found to differentially influence the behavior of different subtypes of voltage-activated calcium channels. Using cloned neuronal Ca channels, we observed that coexpression of alpha1A, a1B or a1C resulted in significant current-voltage shifts and a block effect. Elimination of a1A or a1B resulted in almost complete elimination of the gating effects and block.

The complex interaction between nickel and cloned calcium channels suggests that the effect of nickel on these channels is a result of a multisite interaction with distinct subtypes and subunit combinations. The results also indicate that nickel ions have distinct kinetics and differ qualitatively and quantitatively from the effects of other voltage-activated calcium channel agonists.

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