Defective slow inactivation of sodium channels contributes to familial periodic paralysis

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the effects of missense mutations within the skeletal muscle sodium (Na) channel on slow inactivation (SI) in periodic paralysis and related myotonic disorders.

Background:

Na channel mutations in hyperkalemic periodic paralysis and the nondystrophic myotonias interfere with the normally rapid inactivation of muscle Na currents following an action potential. This defect causes persistent inward Na currents that produce muscle depolarization, myotonia, or onset of weakness. Distinct from fast inactivation is the process called SI, which limits availability of Na channels on a time scale of seconds to minutes, thereby influencing muscle excitability.

Methods:

Human Na channel cDNAs containing mutations associated with paralytic and nonparalytic phenotypes were transiently expressed in human embryonic kidney cells for whole-cell Na current recording. Extent of SI over a range of conditioning voltages (−120 to +20 mV) was defined as the fraction of Na current that failed to recover within 20 ms at −100 mV. The time course of entry to SI at −30 mV was measured using a conditioning pulse duration of 20 ms to 60 seconds. Recovery from SI at −100 mV was assessed over 20 ms to 10 seconds.

Results:

The two most common hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HyperPP) mutations responsible for episodic attacks of weakness or paralysis, T704M and M1592V, showed clearly impaired SI, as we and others have observed previously for the rat homologs of these mutations. In addition, a new paralysis-associated mutant, I693T, with cold-induced weakness, exhibited a comparable defect in SI. However, SI remained intact for both the HyperPP/paramyotonia congenita (PMC) mutant, A1156T, and the nonparalytic potassium-aggravated myotonia (PAM) mutant, V1589M.

Conclusions:

SI is defective in a subset of mutant Na channels associated with episodic weakness (HyperPP or PMC) but remains intact for mutants studied so far that cause myotonia without weakness (PAM).

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