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Mol Pharmacol. 2006 May;69(5):1755-62. Epub 2006 Jan 6.

Halothane directly modifies Na+ and K+ channel activities in cultured human alveolar epithelial cells.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physiologie et Physiopathologie, Campus Erasme CP 604, 808, route de Lennik, Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


During inhalational anesthesia, halogenated gases are in direct contact with the alveolar epithelium, in which they may affect transepithelial ion and fluid transport. The effects of halogenated gases in vivo on epithelial Na+ and K+ channels, which participate in alveolar liquid clearance, remain unclear. In the present study, the effects of halothane (1, 2, and 4% atm) on ion-channel function in cultured human alveolar cells were investigated using the patch-clamp technique. After exposure to 4% halothane, amiloride-sensitive whole-cell inward currents increased by 84+/-22%, whereas tetraethylammonium-sensitive outward currents decreased by 63+/-7%. These effects, which occurred within 30 s, remained for 30-min periods of exposure to the gas, were concentration-dependent, and were reversible upon washout. Pretreatment with amiloride prevented 90+/-7% of the increase in inward currents without change in outward currents, consistent with an activation of amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channels. Tetraethylammonium obliterated 90+/-9% of the effect of halothane on outward currents, without change in inward currents, indicating inhibition of Ca2+-activated K+ channels. These channels were identified in excised patches to be small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels. These effects of halothane were not modified after the inhibition of cytosolic phospholipase A2 by aristolochic acid. Exposure of the cells to either trypsin or to low Na+ completely prevented the increase in amiloride-sensitive currents induced by halothane, suggesting a release of Na+ channels self-inhibition. Thus, halothane modifies differentially and independently Na+ and K+ permeabilities in human alveolar cells.

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