Functional Nav1.8 Channels in Intracardiac Neurons: The Link Between SCN10A and Cardiac Electrophysiology
Rationale: The SCN10A gene encodes the neuronal sodium channel isoform NaV1.8. Several recent genome-wide association studies have linked SCN10A to PR-interval and QRS-duration, strongly suggesting an as yet unknown role for NaV1.8 in cardiac electrophysiology.
Objective: To demonstrate the functional presence of SCN10A/Nav1.8 in intracardiac neurons of the mouse heart.
Methods and Results: Immunohistochemistry on mouse tissue sections showed intense NaV1.8 labeling in dorsal root ganglia and intracardiac ganglia, and only modest NaV1.8 expression within the myocardium. Immunocytochemistry further revealed substantial NaV1.8 staining in isolated neurons from murine intracardiac ganglia, but no NaV1.8 expression in isolated ventricular myocytes. Patch-clamp studies demonstrated that the NaV1.8 blocker A-803467 (0.5-2 µM) had no effect on either mean sodium current (INa) density or INa gating kinetics in isolated myocytes, but significantly reduced INa density in intracardiac neurons. Furthermore, A-803467 accelerated the slow component of current decay and shifted voltage-dependence of inactivation towards more negative voltages, as expected for blockade of NaV1.8-based INa. In line with these findings, A-803467 did not affect cardiomyocyte action potential (AP) upstroke velocity, but markedly reduced AP firing frequency in intracardiac neurons, confirming a functional role for NaV1.8 in cardiac neural activity.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the functional presence of SCN10A/NaV1.8 in intracardiac neurons, indicating a novel role for this neuronal sodium channel in regulation of cardiac electrical activity.
- Received May 18, 2012.
- Accepted June 13, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association