Neurological perspectives on voltage-gated sodium channels

Brain. 2012 Sep;135(Pt 9):2585-612. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws225.


The activity of voltage-gated sodium channels has long been linked to disorders of neuronal excitability such as epilepsy and chronic pain. Recent genetic studies have now expanded the role of sodium channels in health and disease, to include autism, migraine, multiple sclerosis, cancer as well as muscle and immune system disorders. Transgenic mouse models have proved useful in understanding the physiological role of individual sodium channels, and there has been significant progress in the development of subtype selective inhibitors of sodium channels. This review will outline the functions and roles of specific sodium channels in electrical signalling and disease, focusing on neurological aspects. We also discuss recent advances in the development of selective sodium channel inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Ion Channel Gating* / drug effects
  • Ion Channel Gating* / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sodium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Sodium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Sodium Channels / physiology*


  • Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Sodium Channels