Rationale: Sodium channel blockers are used as gene-specific treatments in long-QT syndrome type 3, which is caused by mutations in the sodium channel gene (SCN5A). Response to treatment is influenced by biophysical properties of mutations. Objective: We sought to investigate the unexpected deleterious effect of mexiletine in a mutation combining gain-offunction and trafficking abnormalities. Methods and Results: A long-QT syndrome type 3 child experienced paradoxical QT prolongation and worsening of arrhythmias after mexiletine treatment. The SCN5A mutation F1473S expressed in HEK293 cells presented a right-ward shift of steady-state inactivation, enlarged window current, and huge sustained sodium current. Unexpectedly, it also reduced the peak sodium current by 80%. Immunostaining showed that mutant Nav1.5 is retained in the cytoplasm. Incubation with 10 μmol/L mexiletine rescued the trafficking defect of F1473S, causing a significant increase in peak current, whereas sustained current was unchanged. Using a Markovian model of the Na channel and a model of human ventricular action potential, we showed that simulated exposure of F1473S to mexiletine paradoxically increased action potential duration, mimicking QT prolongation seen in the index patient on mexiletine treatment. Conclusions: Sodium channel blockers are largely used to shorten QT intervals in carriers of SCN5A mutations. We provided evidence that these agents may facilitate trafficking of mutant proteins, thus exacerbating QT prolongation. These data suggest that caution should be used when recommending this class of drugs to carriers of mutations with undefined electrophysiological properties.
- Ion channels
- Long-QT syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine