PubMed 24045971

Title: Escitalopram block of hERG potassium channels.

Authors: Yun Ju Chae, Ji Hyun Jeon, Hong Joon Lee, In-Beom Kim, Jin-Sung Choi, Ki-Wug Sung, Sang June Hahn

Journal, date & volume: Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch. Pharmacol., 2014 Jan , 387, 23-32

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Escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is the pharmacologically active S-enantiomer of the racemic mixture of RS-citalopram and is widely used in the treatment of depression. The effects of escitalopram and citalopram on the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) channels expressed in human embryonic kidney cells were investigated using voltage-clamp and Western blot analyses. Both drugs blocked hERG currents in a concentration-dependent manner with an IC50 value of 2.6 μM for escitalopram and an IC50 value of 3.2 μM for citalopram. The blocking of hERG by escitalopram was voltage-dependent, with a steep increase across the voltage range of channel activation. However, voltage independence was observed over the full range of activation. The blocking by escitalopram was frequency dependent. A rapid application of escitalopram induced a rapid and reversible blocking of the tail current of hERG. The extent of the blocking by escitalopram during the depolarizing pulse was less than that during the repolarizing pulse, suggesting that escitalopram has a high affinity for the open state of the hERG channel, with a relatively lower affinity for the inactivated state. Both escitalopram and citalopram produced a reduction of hERG channel protein trafficking to the plasma membrane but did not affect the short-term internalization of the hERG channel. These results suggest that escitalopram blocked hERG currents at a supratherapeutic concentration and that it did so by preferentially binding to both the open and the inactivated states of the channels and by inhibiting the trafficking of hERG channel protein to the plasma membrane.