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Biophys J. 1978 Aug;23(2):285-311.

Local anesthetic block of sodium channels in normal and pronase-treated squid giant axons.


The inhibition of sodium currents by local anesthetics and other blocking compounds was studied in perfused, voltage-clamped segments of squid giant axon. When applied internally, each of the eight compounds studied results in accumulating "use-depnedent" block of sodium currents upon repetitive pulsing. Recovery from block occurs over a time scale of many seconds. In axons treated with pronase to completely eliminate sodium inactivation, six of the compounds induce a time- and voltage-dependent decline of sodium currents after activation during a maintained depolarization. Four of the time-dependent blocking compounds--procaine, 9-aminoacridine, N-methylstrychnine, and QX572--also induce altered sodium tail currents by hindering closure of the activation gating mechanism. Treatment of the axon with pronase abolishes use-dependent block completely by QX222, QX314, 9-aminoacridine, and N-methylstrychnine, but only partially be tetracaine and etidocaine. Two pulse experiments reveal that recovery from block by 9-aminoacridine or N-methyl-strychnine is greatly accelerated after pronase treatment. Pronase treatment abolishes both use-dependent and voltage-dependent block by QX222 and QX314. These results provide support for a direct role of the inactivation gating mechanism in producing the long-lasting use-dependent inhibition brought about by local anesthetic compounds.

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