Inhibition of frog skeletal muscle sodium channels by newly synthesized chiral derivatives of mexiletine and tocainide
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To search for potent use-dependent blockers of skeletal muscle sodium channels as potential antimyotonic agents, the actions of newly synthesized chiral analogs of mexiletine and tocainide were tested in vitro on sodium currents of single fibers of frog semitendinosus muscle by vaseline-gap voltage clamp method. The effect of each drug on the maximal peak Na+ transient (INa max) was evaluated as both tonic and use-dependent block by using infrequent depolarizing stimulation and trains of pulses at 2–10 Hz frequency, respectively. The mexiletine analog 3-(2,6-dimethylphenoxy)-2-methylpropanamine (Me2), having an increased distance between the phenyl and the amino groups, was less potent than mexiletine in producing a tonic block but produced a remarkable use-dependent block. In fact, the half-maximal concentration (IC50) for tonic block of S(–)-Me2 was 108 μM vs. 54.5 μM of R(–)-mexiletine, but the IC50 was 6.2 times lowered by the 10 Hz stimulation with respect to the 2.4fold decrease observed with mexiletine. The R(–)-mexiletine and the S(–)-Me2 were about twofold more potent than the corresponding enantiomers in producing a tonic block, but the stereoselectivity attenuated during use-dependent blockade. The more lipophilic 2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)-1-phenylethylamine (Me1), presently available as raceme, produced a potent and irreversible tonic block of the sodium currents with an IC50 of 29 μM, but had a less pronounced use-dependent inhibition, with a 1.9fold decrease of the IC50 at 10 Hz. The R(–) isomer of 2′,6′-valinoxylidide (To1), a tocainide derivative with an increased hindrance on the chiral carbon atom, was twofold (IC50 = 209 μM) and tenfold (IC50 = 27.4 μM) more potent than R(–)-tocainide in tonic and use-dependent block, respectively. Tocainide was almost devoid of stereoselectivity, whereas the eudismic ratio of To1 [(IC50 S(+)-To1/IC50 R(–)-To1] was 1.7. As for mexiletine and Me2, the stereoselectivity of To1 was the weaker the higher the frequency of stimulation. The cyclic pyrrolo-imidazolonic tocainide analog To2 produced a small tonic block at 500 μM, and 1 min stimulation at 10 Hz was needed to show up a 50% block of INa max. All the compounds produced a left-shift of the steady-state inactivation curve correlated positively with the extent of use-dependent inhibition, with the exception of the cyclic To2 that acted as an open-channel blocker. The highly use-dependent blockers Me2 and To1 might be promising drugs to solve high frequency discharges of action potentials typical of myotonic muscles. Concomitantly the high potency of Me1 and the open-channel block exerted by To2 can represent important features to get selective blockers for skeletal muscle sodium channels.
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