Ca Permable Na Channels & Cardiacs Cell Excitation

  • Balke, C (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Ica(TTx) is a sodium current component seen in a number of neural and cardiac preparations. In each case, ICa(TTx) channels were found to express both different gating and different permeability properties from the main body of sodium current in that cell type. For rat ventricular cells we have shown that ICa(TTX) channels are encoded by a different gene from that encoding the classical cardiac sodium current. As expected from the very existence of a clear current component, ICa(TTX) channels do affect the electrical behavior of ventricular cells and can even generate action potentials. ICa(TTx) activates over a more negative range of potentials than the classical cardiac sodium current. It should, then, act to amplify the depolarization delivered to a ventricular cell and so provide the immediate trigger for the cardiac action potential. Owing to this role, ICa(TTX) could be of considerable importance in cardiac arrhythmias and in their control. It has been reported in both human atrial and ventricular cells. We have, then, a new channel encoded by a distinct gene that contributes to cardiac cell electrical behavior. The potential importance of this channel for both normal and pathological cardiac electrophysiology calls for its extensive study. We propose to: (i) Determine the slow inactivation properties of ICa(TTx) and compare them to those of the classical sodium current. The slow inactivation process is critical for determining the stationary state pool of available sodium channels. The expected role of ICa(TTX) as the immediate trigger for the cardiac action potential suggests that its slow inactivation properties (and defects in them) could have disproportionately strong effects on the generation and conduction of the cardiac action potentials. (ii) Quantitatively determine the selectivity sequence of ICa(TTX) channels to both mono- and divalent ions. The characteristics of a current component are determined by it selectivity as well as its gating properties. This will be the first determination of the alkali ion selectivity of a native sodium channel that expresses high calcium permeability and could be of importance for the emerging picture of the structural basis for ion selectivity in typical sodium channels. (iii) Start the molecular identification of ICa(TTX) channels by use of antisense oligonucleotides directed against the several sodium channel isoforms known to be expressed in cardiac cell. (iv) Compare the properties of ICa(TTX) in normal and failing human hearts to see it alterations in its properties correlate with pathological conditions.
Effective start/end date6/1/058/31/05


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