HCN channels: Function and clinical implications.
ABSTRACT The hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels belong to the superfamily of pore-loop cation channels. In mammals, the HCN channel family comprises 4 members (HCN1-4) that are expressed in heart and nervous system. HCN channels are activated by membrane hyperpolarization, are permeable to Na(+) and K(+), and are constitutively open at voltages near the resting membrane potential. In many cases, activation is facilitated by direct interaction with cyclic nucleotides, particularly cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The cation current through HCN channels is known as I(h); opening of HCN channels elicits membrane depolarization toward threshold for action potential generation, and reduces membrane resistance and thus the magnitude of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials. HCN channels have a major role in controlling neuronal excitability, dendritic integration of synaptic potentials, synaptic transmission, and rhythmic oscillatory activity in individual neurons and neuronal networks. These channels participate in mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and memory, thalamocortical rhythms, and somatic sensation. Experimental evidence indicates that HCN channels may also contribute to mechanisms of epilepsy and pain. The physiologic functions of HCN channels and their implications for neurologic disorders have been recently reviewed.(1-10).
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ABSTRACT: Burst-firing in distinct subsets of thalamic relay (TR) neurons is thought to be a key requirement for the propagation of absence seizures. However, in the well-regarded Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg (GAERS) model as yet there has been no link described between burst-firing in TR neurons and spike-and-wave discharges (SWDs). GAERS ventrobasal (VB) neurons are a specific subset of TR neurons that do not normally display burst-firing during absence seizures in the GAERS model, and here, we assessed the underlying relationship of VB burst-firing with Ih and T-type calcium currents between GAERS and non-epileptic control (NEC) animals. In response to 200-ms hyperpolarizing current injections, adult epileptic but not pre-epileptic GAERS VB neurons displayed suppressed burst-firing compared to NEC. In response to longer duration 1,000-ms hyperpolarizing current injections, both pre-epileptic and epileptic GAERS VB neurons required significantly more hyperpolarizing current injection to burst-fire than those of NEC animals. The current density of the Hyperpolarization and Cyclic Nucleotide-activated (HCN) current (Ih) was found to be increased in GAERS VB neurons, and the blockade of Ih relieved the suppressed burst-firing in both pre-epileptic P15-P20 and adult animals. In support, levels of HCN-1 and HCN-3 isoform channel proteins were increased in GAERS VB thalamic tissue. T-type calcium channel whole-cell currents were found to be decreased in P7-P9 GAERS VB neurons, and also noted was a decrease in CaV3.1 mRNA and protein levels in adults. Z944, a potent T-type calcium channel blocker with anti-epileptic properties, completely abolished hyperpolarization-induced VB burst-firing in both NEC and GAERS VB neurons.Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 06/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00424-014-1549-4 · 3.07 Impact Factor
Article: Antiarrhythmic drugs and epilepsy[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: For a long time it has been suspected that epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmia may have common molecular background. Furthermore, seizures can affect function of the central autonomic control centers leading to short- and long-term alterations of cardiac rhythm. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) has most likely a cardiac mechanism. Common elements of pathogenesis create a basis for the assumption that antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) may affect seizure phenomena and interact with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Numerous studies have demonstrated anticonvulsant effects of AADs. Among class I AADs (sodium channel blockers), phenytoin is an established antiepileptic drug. Propafenone exerted low anti-electroshock activity in rats. Lidocaine and mexiletine showed the anticonvulsant activity not only in animal models, but also in patients with partial seizures. Among beta-blockers (class II AADs), propranolol was anticonvulsant in models for generalized tonic-clonic and complex partial seizures, but not for myoclonic convulsions. Metoprolol and pindolol antagonized tonic-clonic seizures in DBA/2 mice. Timolol reversed the epileptiform activity of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) in the brain. Furthermore, amiodarone, the representative of class III AADs, inhibited PTZ- and caffeine-induced convulsions in mice. In the group of class IV AADs, verapamil protected mice against PTZ-induced seizures and inhibited epileptogenesis in amygdala-kindled rats. Verapamil and diltiazem showed moderate anticonvulsant activity in genetically epilepsy prone rats. Additionally, numerous AADs potentiated the anticonvulsant action of AEDs in both experimental and clinical conditions. It should be mentioned, however, that many AADs showed proconvulsant effects in overdose. Moreover, intravenous esmolol and intra-arterial verapamil induced seizures even at therapeutic dose ranges.Pharmacological reports: PR 01/2014; 66(4):545–551. · 2.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective Cramp-fasciculation syndrome (CFS) is a heterogeneous condition with multiple underlying causes. Although dysfunction of slow K+ channels has been reported in patients with CFS, testing all potential candidates for this problem using conventional in vitro functional analysis would be prohibitively cost- and labor-intensive. However, relatively economical and non-invasive nerve-excitability testing can identify ion channel dysfunction in vivo when combined with numerical modeling. Methods Patients with CFS underwent nerve conduction study, needle electromyography, and nerve excitability testing. Mathematical modeling of axonal properties was applied to identify the pathophysiology. Results Four patients had distinct electrophysiological findings (i.e., fasciculation potentials, doublet/multiplet motor unit potentials, and sustained F responses); excitability testing showed the following abnormalities: reduction of accommodation during prolonged depolarization, lack of late sub excitability after a supramaximal stimulation, and reduction of the strength-duration time constant. Mathematical modeling showed a loss of voltage-dependence of a slow K+ current. None of these patients had a mutation in the KCNQ2, 3, or 5 genes. Conclusions This study showed that patients with CFS might have abnormal kinetics in a slow K+ current. Significance Nerve-excitability testing may aid the decision to start therapeutic intervention such as administration of slow K+ channel openers.Clinical Neurophysiology 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2014.09.013 · 2.98 Impact Factor