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Circulation. 2001 Mar 20;103(11):1599-604.

Direct inhibition of expressed cardiac l- and t-type calcium channels by igg from mothers whose children have congenital heart block.

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  • 1Molecular and Cellular Cardiology Program, New York Harbor Healthcare System and SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA.



Congenital heart block (CHB) is a disease that affects the offspring of mothers with autoimmune diseases. We recently reported that maternal sera containing antibodies against SSA/Ro and SSB/La ribonucleoproteins (positive IgG) inhibited L-type Ca current in isolated cardiac myocytes and induced sinus bradycardia in a murine model of CHB. The direct interaction of positive IgG with L-type Ca channel proteins and the possible inhibition of T-type Ca current that could account for the sinus bradycardia remain unknown.


The 2-electrode voltage-clamp technique was used to record currents via L-type (I(Ba)-alpha(1C) or I(Ba)-alpha(1C)+beta(2a)+alpha(2)/delta) and T-type (I(Ba)-alpha(1H)) Ca channels, Na channels (I(Na)-hH1), and K channels (I(Ks)-minK+KvLQT1) expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Positive IgG (350 microgram/mL) inhibited I(Ba)-alpha(1C) by 50.6+/-4.7% (P<0.01) and I(Ba)-alpha(1C)+beta(2a)+alpha(2)/delta by 50.9+/-4.2% (P<0.01); I(Ba)-alpha(1H) was reduced by 18.9+/-1.0% (P<0.01). Immunoblot data show cross-reactivity of positive IgG with alpha(1C) subunit. Pretreatment of oocytes with atropine (1 micromol/L) or acetylcholine (10 micromol/L) did not affect the inhibitory effect of IgG on I(Ba)-alpha(1C) and I(Ba)-alpha(1C)+beta(2a)+alpha(2)/delta (P<0.05). Positive IgG had no effect, however, on either I(Na)-hH1 or I(Ks)-minK+KvLQT1.


Positive IgG inhibited expressed L-type I:(Ba) and cross-reacted with the alpha(1C) subunit in Xenopus oocytes, providing strong evidence that maternal antibodies interact directly with the pore-forming alpha(1)-subunit of Ca channels. In addition, we show for the first time that positive IgG also inhibited T-type I(Ba) but not I(Na)-hH1 or I(Ks)-minK+KvLQT1. This could provide, in part, the ionic basis of sinus bradycardia reported in animal models of CHB and clinically in humans.

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