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Br J Pharmacol. 2004 Aug;142(8):1300-8. Epub 2004 Jul 26.

Ranolazine: ion-channel-blocking actions and in vivo electrophysiological effects.

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Department of Medicine, Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, Quebec, Canada.


Ranolazine is a novel anti-ischemic drug that prolongs the QT interval. To evaluate the potential mechanisms and consequences, we studied: (i) Ranolazine's effects on HERG and IsK currents in Xenopus oocytes with two-electrode voltage clamp; (ii) effects of ranolazine, compared to d-sotalol, on effective refractory period (ERP), QT interval and ventricular rhythm in a dog model of acquired long QT syndrome; and (iii) effects on selected native currents in canine atrial myocytes with whole-cell patch-clamp technique. Ranolazine inhibited HERG and IsK currents with different potencies. HERG was inhibited with an IC(50) of 106 micromol l(-1), whereas the IC(50) for IsK was 1.7 mmol l(-1). d-Sotalol caused reverse use-dependent ERP and QT interval prolongation, whereas ranolazine produced modest, nonsignificant increases that plateaued at submaximal doses. Neither drug affected QRS duration. d-Sotalol had clear proarrhythmic effects, with all d-sotalol-treated dogs developing torsades de pointes (TdP) ventricular tachyarrhythmias, of which they ultimately died. In contrast, ranolazine did not generate TdP. Effects on I(Kr) and I(Ks) were similar to those on HERG and IsK. Ranolazine blocked I(Ca) with an IC(50) of approximately 300 micromol l(-1). I(Na) was unaffected. We conclude that ranolazine inhibits I(Kr) by blocking HERG currents, inhibits I(Ca) at slightly larger concentrations, and has modest and self-limited effects on the QT interval. Unlike d-sotalol, ranolazine does not cause TdP in a dog model. The greater safety of ranolazine may be due to its ability to inhibit I(Ca) at concentrations only slightly larger than those that inhibit I(Kr), thus producing offsetting effects on repolarization.

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