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Meclofenamic acid and diclofenac, novel templates of KCNQ2/Q3 potassium channel openers, depress cortical neuron activity and exhibit anticonvulsant properties.

Asher Peretz, Nurit Degani, Rachel Nachman, Yael Uziyel, Gilad Gibor, Doron Shabat, Bernard Attali

Mol. Pharmacol., 2005 Apr , 67, 1053-66

The voltage-dependent M-type potassium current (M-current) plays a major role in controlling brain excitability by stabilizing the membrane potential and acting as a brake for neuronal firing. The KCNQ2/Q3 heteromeric channel complex was identified as the molecular correlate of the M-current. Furthermore, the KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 channel alpha subunits are mutated in families with benign familial neonatal convulsions, a neonatal form of epilepsy. Enhancement of KCNQ2/Q3 potassium currents may provide an important target for antiepileptic drug development. Here, we show that meclofenamic acid (meclofenamate) and diclofenac, two related molecules previously used as anti-inflammatory drugs, act as novel KCNQ2/Q3 channel openers. Extracellular application of meclofenamate (EC(50) = 25 microM) and diclofenac (EC(50) = 2.6 microM) resulted in the activation of KCNQ2/Q3 K(+) currents, heterologously expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Both openers activated KCNQ2/Q3 channels by causing a hyperpolarizing shift of the voltage activation curve (-23 and -15 mV, respectively) and by markedly slowing the deactivation kinetics. The effects of the drugs were stronger on KCNQ2 than on KCNQ3 channel alpha subunits. In contrast, they did not enhance KCNQ1 K(+) currents. Both openers increased KCNQ2/Q3 current amplitude at physiologically relevant potentials and led to hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential. In cultured cortical neurons, meclofenamate and diclofenac enhanced the M-current and reduced evoked and spontaneous action potentials, whereas in vivo diclofenac exhibited an anticonvulsant activity (ED(50) = 43 mg/kg). These compounds potentially constitute novel drug templates for the treatment of neuronal hyperexcitability including epilepsy, migraine, or neuropathic pain.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15598972