pH dependence of kinetics and steady-state block of cardiac sodium channels by lidocaine
The local anesthetic-class antiarrhythmic drugs produce greater depression of conduction in ischemic compared with normal myocardium. The basis for this relatively selective action is uncertain. A model of the pH-dependent interaction of tertiary amine drugs with the sodium channel suggests that the low pH occurring during ischemia slows drug dissociation from the channel by changing the drug's protonation. The importance of the proton exchange reaction and the effect of overall slowing of drug dissociation on steady- state sodium channel blockade is uncertain. We have measured whole cell sodium channel current in rabbit atrial myocytes during control and exposure to lidocaine while external pH was varied between 6.8 and 7.8 at membrane potentials of -140, -120, and -100 mV. Tonic blockade was little influenced by external pH. Decreasing the external pH from 7.8 to 6.8 slowed both the rate of development of phasic block and recovery from the block. Decreasing the membrane potential from -140 to -100 mV increased the degree of phasic block attained in the steady state. Block was further enhanced when low pH was combined with membrane depolarization. Experiments in which deuterium ions were substituted for protons suggest that the kinetics of proton exchange is not rate limiting in the dissociation of drugs from the sodium channel. We conclude that it is the combined effect of low pH and membrane depolarization that may be critical in the enhanced blocking action of local anesthetic-class drugs during ischemia.