Novel Na+/Ca2+ exchanger inhibitor ORM-10962 supports coupled function of funny-current and Na+/ Ca2+ exchanger in pacemaking of rabbit sinus node tissue

Zsófia Kohajda, Noémi Tóth, Jozefina Szlovák, Axel Loewe, Gergo Bitay, Péter Gazdag, János Prorok, Norbert Jost, Jouko Levijoki, Piero Pollesello, Julius Gy Papp, András Varró, Norbert Nagy

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Background and Purpose: The exact mechanism of spontaneous pacemaking is not fully understood. Recent results suggest tight cooperation between intracellular Ca2+ handling and sarcolemmal ion channels. An important player of this crosstalk is the Na+/ Ca2+ exchanger (NCX), however, direct pharmacological evidence was unavailable so far because of the lack of a selective inhibitor. We investigated the role of the NCX current in pacemaking and analyzed the functional consequences of the If-NCX coupling by applying the novel selective NCX inhibitor ORM-10962 on the sinus node (SAN). Experimental Approach: Currents were measured by patch-clamp, Ca2+-transients were monitored by fluorescent optical method in rabbit SAN cells. Action potentials (AP) were recorded from rabbit SAN tissue preparations. Mechanistic computational data were obtained using the Yaniv et al. SAN model. Key Results: ORM-10962 (ORM) marginally reduced the SAN pacemaking cycle length with a marked increase in the diastolic Ca2+ level as well as the transient amplitude. The bradycardic effect of NCX inhibition was augmented when the funny-current (If) was previously inhibited and vice versa, the effect of If was augmented when the Ca2+ handling was suppressed. Conclusion and Implications: We confirmed the contribution of the NCX current to cardiac pacemaking using a novel NCX inhibitor. Our experimental and modeling data support a close cooperation between If and NCX providing an important functional consequence: these currents together establish a strong depolarization capacity providing important safety factor for stable pacemaking. Thus, after individual inhibition of If or NCX, excessive bradycardia or instability cannot be expected because each of these currents may compensate for the reduction of the other providing safe and rhythmic SAN pacemaking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1632
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Funny-current
  • Na+/Ca exchanger
  • ORM-10962
  • Pacemaking
  • Sinus-node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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