Use-Dependent Block and Use-Dependent Unblock of the Delayed Rectifier K+ Current by Almokalant in Rabbit Ventricular Myocytes

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A voltage-clamp analysis of the effect of almokalant on the delayed rectifier K+ current (Ik) was made in rabbit ventricular myocytes. The two-suction pipette method was used, and appropriate voltage-clamp protocols were used to study more specifically use dependence, block development, and recovery from block. Almokalant interacted with the IK in two ways: it shifted the activation curve in the hyperpolarizing direction (stimulatory effect) and blocked the open IK channel in a use-dependent way (inhibitory effect). For 2-second voltage clamps to +20 mV, half-maximum block was obtained at 5×10−8 mol/L, with a Hill coefficient of 1.76. Use-dependent block was related to an open-channel block that occurred at 0 mV with a time constant of 1.07 second and a rather slow recovery from block. at −50 mV, recovery time constant was ≈10 seconds; at −75 mV, recovery was practically absent. The absence of an important recovery at negative membrane potentials is consistent with the hypothesis of the drug being trapped in the channel. A limited frequency-dependent block could be demonstrated. Use-dependent unblock was demonstrated by a rapid recovery from block during stimulation following complete washout of the drug. It is concluded that almokalant shifts the activation curve of IK in the hyperpolarizing direction, blocks the open channel, and is trapped by the closure of the activation gate.

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