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Br J Pharmacol. 1993 Sep;110(1):183-92.

Use-dependent block of Na+ currents by mexiletine at the single channel level in guinea-pig ventricular myocytes.

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Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


1. The mechanism of use-dependent block of Na+ current by mexiletine was studied at the single channel level in guinea-pig ventricular myocytes by the patch-clamp techniques. All experiments were performed using stimulation protocols to enable us to analyze the strict dependence of changes in channel properties on channel use. 2. In cell-attached patches, bath or pipette application of mexiletine (40 microM) produced a use-dependent reduction of the peak average current without changes in single channel conductance. Null sweeps were increased and the number of openings per sweep decreased with successive pulses, whereas no significant change in the mean open time was detected during the train. 3. Block by mexiletine became greater when pulse duration was extended beyond the period in which channels were open, suggesting that block progressed without channel opening. 4. At near threshold potentials, mexiletine decreased the later occurrence of first openings. Additionally, late openings were reduced in a use-dependent way. 5. We conclude that mexiletine binds to the inactivated closed states of the Na+ channel and then causes a failure of late openings as well as early, which results in null sweeps on subsequent depolarization.

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