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Biophys J. 1997 Aug;73(2):779-88.

Differences in steady-state inactivation between Na channel isoforms affect local anesthetic binding affinity.

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Department of Anesthesia Research Laboratories, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Cocaine and lidocaine are local anesthetics (LAs) that block Na currents in excitable tissues. Cocaine is also a cardiotoxic agent and can induce cardiac arrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation. Lidocaine is commonly used as a postinfarction antiarrhythmic agent. These LAs exert clinically relevant effects at concentrations that do not obviously affect the normal function of either nerve or skeletal muscle. We compared the cocaine and lidocaine affinities of human cardiac (hH1) and rat skeletal (mu 1) muscle Na channels that were transiently expressed in HEK 293t cells. The affinities of resting mu 1 and hH1 channels were similar for cocaine (269 and 235 microM, respectively) and for lidocaine (491 and 440 microM, respectively). In addition, the affinities of inactivated mu 1 and hH1 channels were also similar for cocaine (12 and 10 microM, respectively) and for lidocaine (19 and 12 microM, respectively). In contrast to previous studies, our results indicate that the greater sensitivity of cardiac tissue to cocaine or lidocaine is not due to a higher affinity of the LA receptor in cardiac Na channels, but that at physiological resting potentials (-100 to -90 mV), a greater percentage of hH1 channels than mu 1 channels are in the inactivated (i.e., high-affinity) state.

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