1. Troglitazone, an insulin-sensitizing agent shown to improve cardiac function in both experimental animals and patients with diabetes, inhibits voltage-dependent L-type Ca(2+) currents (I(Ca,L)) in cardiac myocytes, which may underlie its cardioprotective effects. However, inhibition by troglitazone of I(Ca,L) in diabetic cardiac myocytes has not been characterized. 2. Using whole-cell voltage-clamp techniques, I(Ca,L) was measured in ventricular myocytes isolated from 4-6 weeks streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats and age-matched control rats. 3. Under control conditions with CsCl internal solution, diabetic myocytes did not differ from control myocytes in membrane capacitance, current density or voltage-dependent properties of I(Ca,L). 4. Troglitazone decreased amplitude of I(Ca,L) in both control and diabetic myocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. This inhibition was more potent in diabetic than in control myocytes; half-maximum inhibitory concentrations of troglitazone measured at a holding potential of -50 mV were 4.3 and 9.5 micromol l(-1), respectively. 5. Troglitazone at 5 micromol l(-1) did not significantly influence the voltage dependency of steady-state inactivation or the inactivation time course of I(Ca,L) in either control or diabetic myocytes. 6. Since troglitazone inhibits I(Ca,L) more effectively in STZ-induced diabetic ventricular myocytes, this agent may prevent cardiac dysfunction in diabetes.
British Journal of Pharmacology (2002) 136, 803-810