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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The antipsychotic drugs sertindole and pimozide block erg3, a human brain K(+) channel.

The antipsychotic drugs sertindole and pimozide are known to prolong the QT interval on the electrocardiogram via a high affinity block of the cardiac K(+) channel known as HERG (human ether-a-go-go-related gene; erg1). We wished to test whether these drugs also displayed high affinity for the related neuronal K(+) channel erg3. The cDNA encoding erg3 channel was cloned from a human brain library. Northern analysis confirmed that the channel was localized to brain relative to other tissues including heart, liver and lung. Within the brain, erg3 was expressed in higher amounts in the frontal lobe and cerebellum relative to the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. Transient expression of erg3 in Chinese hamster ovary cells produced outwardly directed K(+) currents that activated at approximately -50 mV and produced a large transient component at positive membrane potentials. Inward tail currents measured at -100 mV were blocked in a dose-dependent fashion by sertindole resulting in an IC(50) value of 43 nM. Significant inhibition was observed at concentrations as low as 3 nM. Block of erg3 by sertindole also displayed a positive voltage-dependence. Pimozide blocked erg3 channel currents with an IC(50) of 103 nM and significant inhibition was noted at concentrations of 10 nM and higher. We conclude that erg3 can be blocked by certain antipsychotic drugs like sertindole and pimozide. Inhibition of erg3 or related K(+) channels in the brain may contribute to the efficacy/side effect profiles of some antipsychotic drugs.[1]


  1. The antipsychotic drugs sertindole and pimozide block erg3, a human brain K(+) channel. Kang, J., Chen, X.L., Rampe, D. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2001) [Pubmed]
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