Mechanisms of use-dependent block of sodium channels in excitable membranes by local anesthetics.
Many local anesthetics promote reduction in sodium current during repetitive stimulation of excitable membranes. Use-, frequency-, and voltage-dependent responses describe patterns of peak INa when pulse width, pulse frequency, and pulse amplitude are varied. Such responses can be viewed as reflecting voltage-sensitive shifts in equilibrium between conducting, unblocked channels and nonconducting, blocked channels. The modulated-receptor hypothesis postulates shifts in equilibrium as the result of a variable-affinity receptor and modified inactivation gate kinetics in drug-complexed channels. An alternative view considers drug blocking in the absence of these two features. We propose that drug binds to a constant-affinity channel receptor where receptor access is regulated by the channel gates. Specifically, we view channel binding sites as guarded by the channel gate conformation, so that unlike receptors where ligands have continuous access, blocking agent access is variable during the course of an action potential. During the course of an action potential, the m and h gates change conformation in response to transmembrane potential. Conducting channels with both gates open leave the binding site unguarded and thus accessible to drug, whereas nonconducting channels, with gates in the closed conformation, act to restrict drug access to unbound receptors and possibly to trap drug in drug-complexed channels. We develop analytical expressions characterizing guarded receptors as "apparently" variable-affinity binding sites and predicting shifts in "apparent" channel inactivation in the hyperpolarizing direction. These results were confirmed with computer simulations. Furthermore, these results are in quantitative agreement with recent investigations of lidocaine binding in cardiac sodium channels.
Starmer, CF; Grant, AO; Strauss, HC
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