Irritable bowel syndrome patients have SCN5A channelopathies that lead to decreased NaV1.5 current and mechanosensitivity

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2018 Apr 1;314(4):G494-G503. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00016.2017. Epub 2017 Nov 22.


The SCN5A-encoded voltage-gated mechanosensitive Na+ channel NaV1.5 is expressed in human gastrointestinal smooth muscle cells and interstitial cells of Cajal. NaV1.5 contributes to smooth muscle electrical slow waves and mechanical sensitivity. In predominantly Caucasian irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patient cohorts, 2-3% of patients have SCN5A missense mutations that alter NaV1.5 function and may contribute to IBS pathophysiology. In this study we examined a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of IBS patients for SCN5A missense mutations, compared them with IBS-negative controls, and determined the resulting NaV1.5 voltage-dependent and mechanosensitive properties. All SCN5A exons were sequenced from somatic DNA of 252 Rome III IBS patients with diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Missense mutations were introduced into wild-type SCN5A by site-directed mutagenesis and cotransfected with green fluorescent protein into HEK-293 cells. NaV1.5 voltage-dependent and mechanosensitive functions were studied by whole cell electrophysiology with and without shear force. Five of 252 (2.0%) IBS patients had six rare SCN5A mutations that were absent in 377 IBS-negative controls. Six of six (100%) IBS-associated NaV1.5 mutations had voltage-dependent gating abnormalities [current density reduction (R225W, R433C, R986Q, and F1293S) and altered voltage dependence (R225W, R433C, R986Q, G1037V, and F1293S)], and at least one kinetic parameter was altered in all mutations. Four of six (67%) IBS-associated SCN5A mutations (R225W, R433C, R986Q, and F1293S) resulted in altered NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity. In this racially and ethnically diverse cohort of IBS patients, we show that 2% of IBS patients harbor SCN5A mutations that are absent in IBS-negative controls and result in NaV1.5 channels with abnormal voltage-dependent and mechanosensitive function. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.5 contributes to smooth muscle physiology and electrical slow waves. In a racially and ethnically mixed irritable bowel syndrome cohort, 2% had mutations in the NaV1.5 gene SCN5A. These mutations were absent in irritable bowel syndrome-negative controls. Most mutant NaV1.5 channels were loss of function in voltage dependence or mechanosensitivity.

Keywords: ion channels; molecular mechanisms; mutations; smooth muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Channelopathies / genetics
  • Channelopathies / physiopathology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract* / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract* / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract* / physiopathology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / genetics
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism*
  • NAV1.5 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / genetics
  • NAV1.5 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / metabolism*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques


  • NAV1.5 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • SCN5A protein, human