Late cardiac sodium current can be assessed using automated patch-clamp

F1000Res. 2014 Oct 16;3:245. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.5544.1. eCollection 2014.


The cardiac late Na (+) current is generated by a small fraction of voltage-dependent Na (+) channels that undergo a conformational change to a burst-gating mode, with repeated openings and closures during the action potential (AP) plateau. Its magnitude can be augmented by inactivation-defective mutations, myocardial ischemia, or prolonged exposure to chemical compounds leading to drug-induced (di)-long QT syndrome, and results in an increased susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmias. Using CytoPatch™ 2 automated patch-clamp equipment, we performed whole-cell recordings in HEK293 cells stably expressing human Nav1.5, and measured the late Na (+) component as average current over the last 100 ms of 300 ms depolarizing pulses to -10 mV from a holding potential of -100 mV, with a repetition frequency of 0.33 Hz. Averaged values in different steady-state experimental conditions were further corrected by the subtraction of current average during the application of tetrodotoxin (TTX) 30 μM. We show that ranolazine at 10 and 30 μM in 3 min applications reduced the late Na (+) current to 75.0 ± 2.7% (mean ± SEM, n = 17) and 58.4 ± 3.5% ( n = 18) of initial levels, respectively, while a 5 min application of veratridine 1 μM resulted in a reversible current increase to 269.1 ± 16.1% ( n = 28) of initial values. Using fluctuation analysis, we observed that ranolazine 30 μM decreased mean open probability p from 0.6 to 0.38 without modifying the number of active channels n, while veratridine 1 μM increased n 2.5-fold without changing p. In human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, veratridine 1 μM reversibly increased APD90 2.12 ± 0.41-fold (mean ± SEM, n = 6). This effect is attributable to inactivation removal in Nav1.5 channels, since significant inhibitory effects on hERG current were detected at higher concentrations in hERG-expressing HEK293 cells, with a 28.9 ± 6.0% inhibition (mean ± SD, n = 10) with 50 μM veratridine.

Grant support

This study was in part funded by a BMBF grant 03WKCC4D, TransCure NCCR Network to HA, and Austrian Science Fund FWF (grant W1232-B11).