Pharmacological activation of IKr in models of long QT Type 2 risks overcorrection of repolarization

Cardiovasc Res. 2020 Jul 1;116(8):1434-1445. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvz247.


Aims: Current treatment for congenital long QT syndrome Type 2 (cLQTS2), an electrical disorder that increases the risk of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, is aimed at reducing the incidence of arrhythmia triggers (beta-blockers) or terminating the arrhythmia after onset (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). An alternative strategy is to target the underlying disease mechanism, which is reduced rapid delayed rectifier current (IKr) passed by Kv11.1 channels. Small molecule activators of Kv11.1 have been identified but the extent to which these can restore normal cardiac signalling in cLQTS2 backgrounds remains unclear. Here, we examined the ability of ICA-105574, an activator of Kv11.1 that impairs transition to the inactivated state, to restore function to heterozygous Kv11.1 channels containing either inactivation enhanced (T618S, N633S) or expression deficient (A422T) mutations.

Methods and results: ICA-105574 effectively restored Kv11.1 current from heterozygous inactivation enhanced or expression defective mutant channels in heterologous expression systems. In a human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte (hiPSC-CM) model of cLQTS2 containing the expression defective Kv11.1 mutant A422T, cardiac repolarization, estimated from the duration of calcium transients in isolated cells and the rate corrected field potential duration (FPDc) in culture monolayers of cells, was significantly prolonged. The Kv11.1 activator ICA-105574 was able to reverse the prolonged repolarization in a concentration-dependent manner. However, at higher doses, ICA-105574 produced a shortening of the FPDc compared to controls. In vitro and in silico analysis suggests that this overcorrection occurs as a result of a temporal redistribution of the peak IKr to much earlier in the plateau phase of the action potential, which results in early repolarization.

Conclusion: Kv11.1 activators, which target the primary disease mechanism, provide a possible treatment option for cLQTS2, with the caveat that there may be a risk of overcorrection that could itself be pro-arrhythmic.

Keywords: Activator; Arrhythmia; Induced pluripotent; Long QT syndrome; Potassium channel; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / toxicity
  • Benzamides / pharmacology*
  • Benzamides / toxicity
  • CHO Cells
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Cricetulus
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • ERG1 Potassium Channel / genetics
  • ERG1 Potassium Channel / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kv1.1 Potassium Channel / agonists*
  • Kv1.1 Potassium Channel / genetics
  • Kv1.1 Potassium Channel / metabolism
  • Long QT Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Long QT Syndrome / genetics
  • Long QT Syndrome / metabolism
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Mutation
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • 3-nitro-N-(4-phenoxyphenyl)benzamide
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Benzamides
  • ERG1 Potassium Channel
  • KCNA1 protein, human
  • KCNH2 protein, human
  • Kv1.1 Potassium Channel

Supplementary concepts

  • Long Qt Syndrome 2