Lutein (β,ε-carotene-3,3′-diol), a xanthophyll carotenoid, is found in high concentrations in the macula of the human retina. It has been recognized to exert potential effectiveness in an-tioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. However, whether and how its modifications on varying types of plasmalemmal ionic currents occur in electrically excitable cells remain incompletely answered. The current hypothesis is that lutein produces any direct adjustments on ionic currents (e.g., hyperpolarization-activated cation current, Ih [or funny current, If ]). In the present study, GH3-cell exposure to lutein resulted in a time-, state-and concentration-dependent reduction in Ih amplitude with an IC50 value of 4.1 µM. There was a hyperpolarizing shift along the voltage axis in the steady-state activation curve of Ih in the presence of this compound, despite being void of changes in the gating charge of the curve. Under continued exposure to lutein (3 µM), further addition of oxaliplatin (10 µM) or ivabradine (3 µM) could be effective at either reversing or further decreasing lutein-induced suppression of hyperpolarization-evoked Ih, respectively. The voltage-dependent anti-clockwise hysteresis of Ih responding to long-lasting inverted isosceles-triangular ramp concentration-dependently became diminished by adding this compound. However, the addition of 10 µM lutein caused a mild but significant suppression in the amplitude of erg-mediated or A-type K+ currents. Under current-clamp potential recordings, the sag potential evoked by long-lasting hyperpolarizing current stimulus was reduced under cell exposure to lutein. Altogether, findings from the current observations enabled us to reflect that during cell exposure to lutein used at pharmacologically achievable concentrations, lutein-perturbed inhibition of Ih would be an ionic mechanism underlying its changes in membrane excitability.
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