Modulation of potassium channels by antiarrhythmic and antihypertensive drugs.
- PubMed: 1548049
Agents that modulate cardiac and smooth muscle K+ channels have stimulated considerable interest in recent years because of their therapeutic potential in a number of cardiovascular diseases. Foremost among these drugs are the so-called Class III antiarrhythmic agents, which act by prolonging cardiac action potentials, and K+ channel openers, which hyperpolarize and thereby relax smooth muscle cells. Many of the newly developed Class III antiarrhythmic agents probably act by specific block of one subtype of delayed rectifier K+ current, IKr, whereas other agents block more than one type of cardiac K+ current. Much controversy exists over the specific type of K+ channel (or channels) in smooth muscle that are activated by the K+ channel openers. Both groups of K+ channel modulators have great therapeutic promise, but the Class III antiarrhythmic agents may suffer from a side-effect that is directly linked to their specific mechanism of action.