Blood-depressing substance I (BDS-I), a 43 amino-acid peptide from sea anemone venom, is used as a specific inhibitor of Kv3-family potassium channels. We found that BDS-I acts with even higher potency to modulate specific types of voltage-dependent sodium channels. In rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, 3 μM BDS-I strongly enhanced tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive sodium current but weakly inhibited TTX-resistant sodium current. In rat superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons, which express only TTX-sensitive sodium current, BDS-I enhanced current elicited by small depolarizations and slowed decay of currents at all voltages (EC(50) ∼ 300 nM). BDS-I acted with exceptionally high potency and efficacy on cloned human Nav1.7 channels, slowing inactivation by 6-fold, with an EC(50) of approximately 3 nM. BDS-I also slowed inactivation of sodium currents in N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells (mainly from Nav1.3 channels), with an EC(50) ∼ 600 nM. In hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons (mouse) and cerebellar Purkinje neurons (mouse and rat), BDS-I had only small effects on current decay (slowing inactivation by 20-50%), suggesting relatively weak sensitivity of Nav1.1 and Nav1.6 channels. The biggest effect of BDS-I in central neurons was to enhance resurgent current in Purkinje neurons, an effect reflected in enhancement of sodium current during the repolarization phase of Purkinje neuron action potentials. Overall, these results show that BDS-I acts to modulate sodium channel gating in a manner similar to previously known neurotoxin receptor site 3 anemone toxins but with different isoform sensitivity. Most notably, BDS-I acts with very high potency on human Nav1.7 channels.