Effectiveness in block by dexmedetomidine of hyperpolarization-activated cation current, independent of its agonistic effect on α2-adrenergic receptors

Te Ling Lu, Te Jung Lu, Sheng Nan Wu

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Dexmedetomidine (DEX), a highly selective agonist of α2-adrenergic receptors, has been tailored for sedation without risk of respiratory depression. Our hypothesis is that DEX produces any direct perturbations on ionic currents (e.g., hyperpolarization-activated cation current, Ih). In this study, addition of DEX to pituitary GH3 cells caused a time-and concentration-dependent reduction in the amplitude of Ih with an IC50 value of 1.21 µM and a KD value of 1.97 µM. A hyperpolarizing shift in the activation curve of Ih by 10 mV was observed in the presence of DEX. The voltage-dependent hysteresis of Ih elicited by long-lasting triangular ramp pulse was also dose-dependently reduced during its presence. In continued presence of DEX (1 µM), further addition of OXAL (10 µM) or replacement with high K+ could reverse DEX-mediated inhibition of Ih, while subsequent addition of yohimbine (10 µM) did not attenuate the inhibitory effect on Ih amplitude. The addition of 3 µM DEX mildly suppressed the amplitude of erg-mediated K+ current. Under current-clamp potential recordings, the exposure to DEX could diminish the firing frequency of spontaneous action potentials. In pheochromocytoma PC12 cells, DEX was effective at suppressing Ih together with a slowing in activation time course of the current. Taken together, findings from this study strongly suggest that during cell exposure to DEX used at clinically relevant concentrations, the DEX-mediated block of Ih appears to be direct and would particularly be one of the ionic mechanisms underlying reduced membrane excitability in the in vivo endocrine or neuroendocrine cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9110
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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