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To get insight into the mechanism of action of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAI) in neuromuscular disorders, we investigated effects of dichlorphenamide (DCP) and acetazolamide (ACTZ) on ClC-1 chloride channels and skeletal muscle excitability. We performed patch-clamp experiments to test drugs on chloride currents in HEK293T cells transfected with hClC-1. Using the two-intracellular microelectrode technique in current-clamp mode, we measured the effects of drugs on the resting chloride conductance and action potential properties of sarcolemma in rat and mouse skeletal muscle fibers. Using BCECF dye fluorometry, we measured the effects of ACTZ on intracellular pH in single rat muscle fibers. Similarly to ACTZ, DCP (100 μM) increased hClC-1 chloride currents in HEK cells, because of the negative shift of the open probability voltage dependence and the slowing of deactivation kinetics. Bendroflumethiazide (BFT, 100 μM), structurally related to DCP but lacking activity on carbonic anhydrase, had little effects on chloride currents. In isolated rat muscle fibers, 50-100 μM of ACTZ or DCP, but not BFT, induced a ~ 20% increase of the resting chloride conductance. ACTZ reduced action potential firing in mouse muscle fibers. ACTZ (100 μM) reduced intracellular pH to 6.8 in rat muscle fibers. These results suggest that carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can reduce muscle excitability by increasing ClC-1 channel activity, probably through intracellular acidification. Such a mechanism may contribute in part to the clinical effects of these drugs in myotonia and other muscle excitability disorders. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Concetta Altamura, Adriano Fonzino, Nancy Tarantino, Elena Conte, Antonella Liantonio, Paola Imbrici, Maria Rosaria Carratù, Sabata Pierno, Jean-François Desaphy. Increased sarcolemma chloride conductance as one of the mechanisms of action of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors in muscle excitability disorders. Experimental neurology. 2021 Aug;342:113758

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PMID: 33991525

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