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Nature. 1995 Aug 24;376(6542):683-5.

Molecular mechanism for an inherited cardiac arrhythmia.

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Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


In the congenital long-QT syndrome, prolongation of the cardiac action potential occurs by an unknown mechanism and predisposes individuals to syncope and sudden death as a result of ventricular arrhythmias. Genetic heterogeneity has been demonstrated for autosomal dominant long-QT syndrome by the identification of multiple distinct loci, and associated mutations in two candidate genes have recently been reported. One form of hereditary long QT (LQT3) has been linked to a mutation in the gene encoding the human heart voltage-gated sodium-channel alpha-subunit (SCN5A on chromosome 3p21). Here we characterize this mutation using heterologous expression of recombinant human heart sodium channels. Mutant channels show a sustained inward current during membrane depolarization. Single-channel recordings indicate that mutant channels fluctuate between normal and non-inactivating gating modes. Persistent inward sodium current explains prolongation of cardiac action potentials, and provides a molecular mechanism for this form of congenital long-QT syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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