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HCN channels and heart rate.

Pietro Scicchitano, Santa Carbonara, Gabriella Ricci, Cosimo Mandurino, Manuela Locorotondo, Gabriella Bulzis, Michele Gesualdo, Annapaola Zito, Rosa Carbonara, Ilaria Dentamaro, Graziano Riccioni, Marco Matteo Ciccone

Molecules, 2012 , 17, 4225-35

Hyperpolarization and Cyclic Nucleotide (HCN) -gated channels represent the molecular correlates of the "funny" pacemaker current (I(f)), a current activated by hyperpolarization and considered able to influence the sinus node function in generating cardiac impulses. HCN channels are a family of six transmembrane domain, single pore-loop, hyperpolarization activated, non-selective cation channels. This channel family comprises four members: HCN1-4, but there is a general agreement to consider HCN4 as the main isoform able to control heart rate. This review aims to summarize advanced insights into the structure, function and cellular regulation of HCN channels in order to better understand the role of such channels in regulating heart rate and heart function in normal and pathological conditions. Therefore, we evaluated the possible therapeutic application of the selective HCN channels blockers in heart rate control.