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Brain Res. 1992 Jul 3;584(1-2):71-6.

Modulation of nerve membrane sodium channel activation by deltamethrin.

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Department of Pharmacology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611.


Deltamethrin is a highly potent pyrethroid insecticide that causes hypersensitivity, choreoathetosis, tremors, and paralysis in mammals. It is known to modify the sodium channel in such a way as to prolong the tail current associated with step repolarization following a depolarizing pulse. Using the axial-wire voltage-clamp technique with the giant axon of the squid Loligo pealei, we have demonstrated that deltamethrin also greatly slows the opening of the sodium channel. This was first observed as a decrease, by as much as 80%, in the peak sodium current flowing during a short, 10 ms depolarization. Current flowing through these slowly opening deltamethrin modified sodium channels was observed during the first depolarizing pulse after deltamethrin exposure and developed with a time constant of 320 ms. This supports the idea that deltamethrin can modify sodium channels when they are in the closed or resting state. Further, evidence of this hypothesis was provided by experiments using 0.1 and 10 microM deltamethrin and measuring the tail current amplitude after depolarizing pulses of varying duration (1-1200 ms). The mean time constant for the increase in tail current amplitude was almost concentration independent; 253 ms at 0.1 microM and 193 ms at 10 microM. We conclude that deltamethrin modifies the activation kinetics of sodium channels in such a way as to slow opening and that this modification occurs predominantly when channels are in the closed or resting state.

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