Current and Potential Antiarrhythmic Drugs Targeting Voltage-Gated Cardiac Ion Channels

Mathew Perez-Neut, Vidhya Rao, Lauren Haar, Keith W Jones and Saverio Gentile

Voltage-gated ion channels play a fundamental role in the generation and propagation of the cardiac action potential by acting synergistically to produce an ionic current across cellular membranes. Abnormalities of heart ion channel activities that lead to loss or gain of function (channelopathies) are often associated with disruption of the coordinated propagation of electrical activity of the cardiac myocytes and can generate fatal arrhythmogenesis. Drugs that act on cardiac ion channels have long been used to restore normal rhythm and conduction in patients affected by cardiac arrhythmias and offered to basic scientists the possibility to characterize distinct ion channel classes. This review will explore the mechanisms and role of the current anti-arrhythmic drugs used in the clinic, and discuss recent development on ion channel openers as potential anti-arrhythmic drugs.