Na channels that generate resurgent current express an intracellular endogenous open-channel blocking protein, whose rapid binding upon depolarization and unbinding upon repolarization minimizes fast and slow inactivation. Na channels also bind exogenous compounds, such as lidocaine, which functionally stabilize inactivation. Like the endogenous blocking protein, these use-dependent inhibitors bind most effectively at depolarized potentials, raising the question of how lidocaine-like compounds affect neurons with resurgent Na current. We therefore recorded lidocaine inhibition of voltage-clamped, tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na currents in mouse Purkinje neurons, which express a native blocking protein, and in mouse hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons with and without a peptide from the cytoplasmic tail of NaVβ4 (the β4 peptide), which mimics endogenous open-channel block. To control channel states during drug exposure, lidocaine was applied with rapid-solution exchange techniques during steps to specific voltages. Inhibition of Na currents by lidocaine was diminished by either the β4 peptide or the native blocking protein. In peptide-free CA3 cells, prolonging channel opening with a site-3 toxin, anemone toxin II, reduced lidocaine inhibition; this effect was largely occluded by open-channel blockers, suggesting that lidocaine binding is favored by inactivation but prevented by open-channel block. In constant 100 μM lidocaine, current-clamped Purkinje cells continued to fire spontaneously. Similarly, the β4 peptide reduced lidocaine-dependent suppression of spiking in CA3 neurons in slices. Thus, the open-channel blocking protein responsible for resurgent current acts as a natural antagonist of lidocaine. Neurons with resurgent current may therefore be less susceptible to use-dependent Na channel inhibitors used as local anesthetic, antiarrhythmic, and anticonvulsant drugs.
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