Background: The availability of safe and effective drugs for the management of atrial fibrillation (AF) remains an unmet medical need.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the inhibition of the rapidly activating delayed rectifier potassium current (IKr) greatly potentiates the development of atrial-selective sodium channel current (INa) block, leading to more effective suppression of AF.
Methods: Electrophysiological and anti-AF effects of highly selective INa and IKr blockers (lidocaine and E-4031) individually and in combination were determined in canine coronary-perfused atrial and ventricular preparations. Acetylcholine (1 µM) was used to induce persistent AF.
Results: Lidocaine (10 µM) caused a relatively small abbreviation of the action potential duration measured at 90% repolarization in both atria and ventricles, but caused atrial-selective prolongation of the effective refractory period owing to the induction of post-repolarization refractoriness. Lidocaine also caused modest atrial-selective depression of other INa-mediated parameters including excitability, maximum rate of rise of the action potential upstroke, and conduction time. E-4031 (1 µM) prolonged the action potential duration measured at 90% repolarization and effective refractory period in an atrial-predominant manner. A combination of lidocaine and E-4031 caused a greater atrial-selective depression of INa-mediated parameters. Persistent acetylcholine-mediated AF developed in 100% of atria under control conditions, in 80% (4 of 5) after pretreatment with lidocaine (10 µM), in 100% (4 of 4) after E-4031 (1 µM), and in only 14% (1 of 7) after the combination of lidocaine and E-4031.
Conclusion: Our results provide a proof of concept that IKr block greatly potentiates the effects of rapidly dissociating INa blockers to depress sodium channel-dependent parameters in the canine atria but not in the ventricles, thus contributing significantly to suppression of AF.
Keywords: Antiarrhythmic drugs; Atrial fibrillation; Electrophysiology; Lidocaine; Pharmacology.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.