Calculating the Consequences of Left-Shifted Nav Channel Activity in Sick Excitable Cells

  • Bela Joos
  • Benjamin M. Barlow
  • Catherine E. Morris
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 246)


Two features common to diverse sick excitable cells are “leaky” Nav channels and bleb damage-damaged membranes. The bleb damage, we have argued, causes a channel kinetics based “leakiness.” Recombinant (node of Ranvier type) Nav1.6 channels voltage-clamped in mechanically-blebbed cell-attached patches undergo a damage intensity dependent kinetic change. Specifically, they experience a coupled hyperpolarizing (left) shift of the activation and inactivation processes. The biophysical observations on Nav1.6 currents formed the basis of Nav-Coupled Left Shift (Nav-CLS) theory. Node of Ranvier excitability can be modeled with Nav-CLS imposed at varying LS intensities and with varying fractions of total nodal membrane affected. Mild damage from which sick excitable cells might recover is of most interest pathologically. Accordingly, Na+/K+ ATPase (pump) activity was included in the modeling. As we described more fully in our other recent reviews, Nav-CLS in nodes with pumps proves sufficient to predict many of the pathological excitability phenomena reported for sick excitable cells. This review explains how the model came about and outlines how we have used it. Briefly, we direct the reader to studies in which Nav-CLS is being implemented in larger scale models of damaged excitable tissue. For those who might find it useful for teaching or research purposes, we coded the Nav-CLS/node of Ranvier model (with pumps) in NEURON. We include, here, the resulting “Regimes” plot of classes of excitability dysfunction.


Bleb Ectopic Excitability Hyperpolarizing shift Leaky sodium channels Left shift Membrane damage Mild injury Modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bela Joos
    • 1
  • Benjamin M. Barlow
    • 1
  • Catherine E. Morris
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.NeurosciencesOttawa Hospital Research InstituteOttawaCanada

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