5-hydroxytryptamine 3 receptor (5-HT3 receptor) antagonists are administered for prevention and therapy of nausea and vomiting. Although regarded as safe therapeutics, they can also provoke arrhythmias by prolonging the QRS interval. However, the mechanisms mediating this cardiotoxicity are poorly understood. Here we investigated effects of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on the cardiac Na+ channel Nav1.5.
We explored the interaction of dolasetron, tropisetron, granisetron and ondansetron on the human α-subunit Nav1.5 heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells. Sodium currents were explored by means of whole-cell patch clamp recordings. All four substances inhibited the Nav1.5 in a concentration and state-dependent manner. Dolasetron displayed the lowest blocking efficacy, and tropisetron was the most potent blocker with a half maximum blocking concentration of 18 μM for tonic block of inactivated channels. Tropisetron was also the most potent use-dependent inhibitor, and it also induced a strong open -channel block. Both tonic and use-dependent block by tropisetron were abbreviated on the local-anesthetic insensitive mutant Nav1.5-F1760A. Co-administration of tropisetron and the local anesthetic bupivacaine or the hypnotic propofol augmented inhibition of Nav1.5. Our data demonstrate that 5-HT3 receptor antagonists induce a local-anesthetic like inhibition of Nav1.5, and that they display different blocking efficacies. Reports on a relevant cardiotoxicity of dolasetron as opposed to other 5-HT3 receptor antagonists do not seem to correlate with a block of Nav1.5. As inhibition of Nav1.5 was enhanced by propofol and bupivacaine however, it is possible that a combined administration of Na+ channel blockers and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists can provoke arrhythmias.