Paroxysmal extreme pain disorder (PEPD) and inherited erythromelalgia (IEM) are inherited pain syndromes arising from different sets of gain-of-function mutations in the sensory neuronal sodium channel isoform Nav1.7. Mutations associated with PEPD, but not IEM, result in destabilized inactivation of Nav1.7 and enhanced resurgent sodium currents. Resurgent currents arise after relief of ultra-fast open-channel block mediated by an endogenous blocking particle and are thought to influence neuronal excitability. As such, enhancement of resurgent currents may constitute a pathological mechanism contributing to sensory neuron hyperexcitability and pain hypersensitivity associated with PEPD. Furthermore, pain associated with PEPD, but not IEM, is alleviated by the sodium channel inhibitor carbamazepine. We speculated that selective attenuation of PEPD-enhanced resurgent currents might contribute to this therapeutic effect. Here we examined whether carbamazepine and two other sodium channel inhibitors, riluzole and anandamide, exhibit differential inhibition of resurgent currents. To gain further insight into the potential mechanism(s) of resurgent currents, we examined whether these inhibitors produced correlative changes in other properties of sodium channel inactivation. Using stably transfected human embryonic kidney 293 cells expressing wild-type Nav1.7 and the PEPD mutants T1464I and M1627K, we examined the effects of the three drugs on Navβ4 peptide-mediated resurgent currents. We observed a correlation between resurgent current inhibition and a drug-mediated increase in the rate of inactivation and inhibition of persistent sodium currents. Furthermore, although carbamazepine did not selectively target resurgent currents, anandamide strongly inhibited resurgent currents with minimal effects on the peak transient current amplitude, demonstrating that resurgent currents can be selectively targeted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine