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Life Sci 1999 Jan 01;6512:PL143-9. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(99)00370-7.
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Nicotine depresses the functions of multiple cardiac potassium channels.

Wang H , Shi H , Wang Z .

Nicotine is the main constituent of tobacco smoke responsible for the elevated risk of the cardiovascular disease and sudden coronary death associated with smoking, presumably by provoking cardiac arrhythmias. The cellular mechanisms may be related to the ability of nicotine to prolong action potentials and to depolarize membrane potential. However, the underlying ionic mechanisms remained unknown. We showed here that nicotine blocked multiple types of K+ currents, including the native currents in canine ventricular myocytes and the cloned channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes: A-type K+ currents (I(to)/Kv4.3), delayed rectifier K+ currents (I(Kr)/HERG) and inward rectifier K+ currents (I(K1)/Kir2.1). Most noticeably, nicotine at a concentration as low as of 10 nM significantly suppressed I(to) and Kv4.3 by approximately 20%. The effects of nicotine were independent of nicotinic receptor simulation or catecholamine release. Our results indicate that nicotine is a non-specific blocker of K+ channels and the inhibitory effects are the consequence of direct interactions between nicotine molecules and the channel proteins. Our study provided for the first time the evidence for the direct inhibition of cardiac K+ channels by nicotine and established a novel aspect of nicotine pharmacology.

PubMed ID: 10503950
Article link: Life Sci