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Biophys J. 1993 Dec;65(6):2335-47.

Dissecting lidocaine action: diethylamide and phenol mimic separate modes of lidocaine block of sodium channels from heart and skeletal muscle.

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Department of Medical Physiology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


We have investigated block of sodium channels by diethylamide and phenol, which resemble the hydrophilic tertiary amine head and the hydrophobic aromatic tail of the lidocaine molecule, respectively. Diethylamide and phenol separately mimicked the fast and slow modes of block caused by lidocaine. Experiments were performed using single batrachotoxin-activated bovine cardiac and rat skeletal muscle sodium channels incorporated into neutral planar lipid bilayers. Diethylamide, only from the intracellular side, caused a voltage-dependent reduction in apparent single channel amplitude ('fast' block). Block was similar for cardiac and skeletal muscle channels, and increased in potency when extracellular sodium was replaced by N-methylglucamine, consistent with an intrapore blocking site. Thus, although occurring at 15-fold higher concentrations, block by diethylamide closely resembles the fast mode of block by lidocaine (Zamponi, G. W., D. D. Doyle, and R. J. French. 1993. Biophys. J. 65:80-90). For cardiac sodium channels, phenol bound to a closed state causing the appearance of long blocked events whose duration increased with phenol concentration. This slow block depended neither on voltage nor on the side of application, and disappeared upon treatment of the channel with trypsin. For skeletal muscle channels, slow phenol block occurred with only very low probability. Thus, phenol block resembles the slow mode of block observed for lidocaine (Zamponi, G. W., D. D. Doyle, and R. J. French. 1993. Biophys. J. 65:91-100). Our data suggest that there are separate sites for fast lidocaine block of the open channel and slow block of the "inactivated" channel. Fast block by diethylamide inhibited the long, spontaneous, trypsin-sensitive (inactivation-like) closures of cardiac channels, and hence secondarily antagonized slow block by phenol or lidocaine. This antagonism would potentiate shifts in the balance between the two modes of action of a tertiary amine drug caused by changes in the relative concentrations of the charged (fast blocking) and neutral (slow blocking) forms of the drug.

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