Journal of Neurophysiology

Permeation and block of TRPV1 channels by the cationic lidocaine derivative QX-314

Michelino Puopolo, Alexander M. Binshtok, Gui-Lan Yao, Seog Bae Oh, Clifford J. Woolf, Bruce P. Bean


QX-314 (N-ethyl-lidocaine) is a cationic lidocaine derivative that blocks voltage-dependent sodium channels when applied internally to axons or neuronal cell bodies. Coapplication of external QX-314 with the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 protein (TRPV1) agonist capsaicin produces long-lasting sodium channel inhibition in TRPV1-expressing neurons, suggestive of QX-314 entry into the neurons. We asked whether QX-314 entry occurs directly through TRPV1 channels or through a different pathway (e.g., pannexin channels) activated downstream of TRPV1 and whether QX-314 entry requires the phenomenon of “pore dilation” previously reported for TRPV1. With external solutions containing 10 or 20 mM QX-314 as the only cation, inward currents were activated by stimulation of both heterologously expressed and native TRPV1 channels in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. QX-314-mediated inward current did not require pore dilation, as it activated within several seconds and in parallel with Cs-mediated outward current, with a reversal potential consistent with PQX-314/PCs = 0.12. QX-314-mediated current was no different when TRPV1 channels were expressed in C6 glioma cells, which lack expression of pannexin channels. Rapid addition of QX-314 to physiological external solutions produced instant partial inhibition of inward currents carried by sodium ions, suggesting that QX-314 is a permeant blocker. Maintained coapplication of QX-314 with capsaicin produced slowly developing reduction of outward currents carried by internal Cs, consistent with intracellular accumulation of QX-314 to concentrations of 50–100 μM. We conclude that QX-314 is directly permeant in the “standard” pore formed by TRPV1 channels and does not require either pore dilation or activation of additional downstream channels for entry.

  • dorsal root ganglion
  • sodium channel
  • capsaicin
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