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Common mechanism underlies many diseases of excitability

Date:
December 30, 2009
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Inherited mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels are associated with many different human diseases, including genetic forms of epilepsy and chronic pain. New research has now determined the functional consequence of three such mutations. These results suggest that there might be a common mechanism underlying diseases caused by mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels.

Inherited mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) are associated with many different human diseases, including genetic forms of epilepsy and chronic pain. Theodore Cummins and colleagues, at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, have now determined the functional consequence of three such mutations.

The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

As noted by Stephen Cannon and Bruce Bean, in an accompanying commentary, these results suggest that there might be a common mechanism for many channelopathies, diseases arising from mutations in ion channel genes such as those analyzed by Cummins and colleagues.

The authors studied the functional consequences of mutations in the human peripheral neuronal sodium channel Nav1.7, the human skeletal muscle sodium channel Nav1.4, and the human heart sodium channel Nav1.5, which are associated with an extreme pain disorder, a muscle condition characterized by slow relaxation of the muscles, and a heart condition and sudden infant death syndrome, respectively. Expression of these mutated proteins in a rat-derived dorsal root ganglion neuronal system led to the conclusion that the mutations all altered opening of the sodium channels such that the channels quickly reopened after an electrical impulse had been fired by the nerve cell causing a resurgent sodium current that triggered a second electrical impulse to be fired rapidly after the first.

These observations are consistent with the diseases all being characterized by excitability, over activity of cells that rely on electrical currents, such as nerve cells, skeletal muscle cells, and heart muscle cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Brian W. Jarecki, Andrew D. Piekarz, James O. Jackson, II and Theodore R. Cummins. Human voltage-gated sodium channel mutations that cause inherited neuronal and muscle channelopathies increase resurgent sodium currents. Journal of Clinical Investigation, Published December 28, 2009 DOI: 10.1172/JCI40801
  2. Stephen C. Cannon and Bruce P. Bean. Sodium channels gone wild: resurgent current from neuronal and muscle channelopathies. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2010; 120 (1): 80-83 DOI: 10.1172/JCI41340

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Common mechanism underlies many diseases of excitability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091228171457.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2009, December 30). Common mechanism underlies many diseases of excitability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091228171457.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Common mechanism underlies many diseases of excitability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091228171457.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

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