Voltage-gated sodium channels in neurological disorders

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2008 Apr;7(2):144-58. doi: 10.2174/187152708784083830.


Voltage-gated sodium channels play an essential biophysical role in many excitable cells such as neurons. They transmit electrical signals through action potential (AP) generation and propagation in the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous systems (CNS). Each sodium channel is formed by one alpha-subunit and one or more beta-subunits. There is growing evidence indicating that mutations, changes in expression, or inappropriate modulation of these channels can lead to electrical instability of the cell membrane and inappropriate spontaneous activity observed during pathological states. This review describes the biochemical, biophysical and pharmacological properties of neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC) and their implication in several neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Animals
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects*
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / etiology
  • Sodium Channel Blockers / chemistry
  • Sodium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Sodium Channels / drug effects*
  • Subcellular Fractions / drug effects
  • Toxins, Biological / pharmacology


  • Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Sodium Channels
  • Toxins, Biological