Voltage Gated Sodium Channels

Volume 221 of the series Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology pp 33-49


Slow Inactivation of Na+ Channels

  • Jonathan SilvaAffiliated withDepartment of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis Email author 

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Prolonged depolarizing pulses that last seconds to minutes cause slow inactivation of Na+ channels, which regulates neuron and myocyte excitability by reducing availability of inward current. In neurons, slow inactivation has been linked to memory of previous excitation and in skeletal muscle it ensures myocytes are able to contract when K+ is elevated. The molecular mechanisms underlying slow inactivation are unclear even though it has been studied for 50+ years. This chapter reviews what is known to date regarding the definition, measurement, and mechanisms of voltage-gated Na+ channel slow inactivation.


Inactivation Fluorometry Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis