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

SUR2 subtype (A and B)-dependent differential activation of the cloned ATP-sensitive K+ channels by pinacidil and nicorandil.

1. The classical ATP sensitive K+ (K(ATP)) channels are composed of a sulphonylurea receptor (SUR) and an inward rectifying K+ channel subunit (BIR/Kir6.2). They are the targets of vasorelaxant agents called K+ channel openers, such as pinacidil and nicorandil. 2. In order to examine the tissue selectivity of pinacidil and nicorandil, in vitro, we compared the effects of these agents on cardiac type (SUR2A/Kir6.2) and vascular smooth muscle type (SUR2B/Kir6.2) of the K(ATP) channels heterologously expressed in HEK293T cells, a human embryonic kidney cell line, by using the patch-clamp method. 3. In the cell-attached recordings (145 mM K+ in the pipette), pinacidil and nicorandil activated a weakly inwardly-rectifying, glibenclamide-sensitive 80 pS K+ channel in both the transfected cells. 4. In the whole-cell configuration, pinacidil showed a similar potency in activating the SUR2B/Kir6.2 and SUR2A/Kir6.2 channels (EC50 of approximately 2 and approximately 10 microM, respectively). On the other hand, nicorandil activated the SUR2B/Kir6.2 channel > 100 times more potently than the SUR2A/Kir6.2 (EC50 of approximately 10 microM and > 500 microM, respectively). 5. Thus, nicorandil, but not pinacidil, preferentially activates the K(ATP) channels containing SUR2B. Because SUR2A and SUR2B are diverse only in 42 amino acids at their C-terminal ends, it is strongly suggested that this short part of SUR2B may play a critical role in the action of nicorandil on the vascular type classical K(ATP) channel.[1]


  1. SUR2 subtype (A and B)-dependent differential activation of the cloned ATP-sensitive K+ channels by pinacidil and nicorandil. Shindo, T., Yamada, M., Isomoto, S., Horio, Y., Kurachi, Y. Br. J. Pharmacol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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