Ole Bækgaard Nielsen

Extracellular magnesium and calcium reduce myotonia in ClC-1 inhibited rat muscle

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Loss-of-function mutations in the ClC-1 Cl(-) channel trigger skeletal muscle hyperexcitability in myotonia congenita. For reasons that remain unclear, the severity of the myotonic symptoms can vary markedly even among patients with identical ClC-1 mutations, and may become exacerbated during pregnancy and with diuretic treatment. Since both these conditions are associated with hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia, we explored whether extracellular Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) ([Mg(2+)]o and [Ca(2+)]o) can affect myotonia. Experimental myotonia was induced in isolated rat muscles by ClC-1 inhibition and effects of [Mg(2+)]o or [Ca(2+)]o on myotonic contractions were determined. Both cations dampened myotonia within their physiological concentration ranges. Thus, myotonic contractile activity was 6-fold larger at 0.3 than at 1.2 mM [Mg(2+)]o and 82-fold larger at 0.3 than at 1.27 mM [Ca(2+)]o. In intracellular recordings of action potentials, the threshold for action potential excitation was raised by 4-6 mV when [Mg(2+)]o was elevated from 0.6 to 3 mM, compatible with an increase in the depolarization of the membrane potential necessary to activate the Na(+) channels. Supporting this notion, mathematical simulations showed that myotonia went from appearing with normal Cl(-) channel function to disappearing in the absence of Cl(-) channel function when Na(+) channel activation was depolarized by 6 mV. In conclusion, variation in serum Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) may contribute to phenotypic variation in myotonia congenita patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Volume23
Issue6
Pages (from-to)489-502
Number of pages14
ISSN0960-8966
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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