Effects of the ventilatory stimulant, doxapram on human TASK-3 (KCNK9, K2P9.1) channels and TASK-1 (KCNK3, K2P3.1) channels.

Cunningham, Kevin P, MacIntyre, D Euan, Mathie, Alistair and Veale, Emma L (2019) Effects of the ventilatory stimulant, doxapram on human TASK-3 (KCNK9, K2P9.1) channels and TASK-1 (KCNK3, K2P3.1) channels. Acta physiologica, 228 (2). e13361. ISSN 1748-1716

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The mode of action by which doxapram acts as a respiratory stimulant in humans is controversial. Studies in rodent models, have shown that doxapram is a more potent and selective inhibitor of TASK-1 and TASK-1/TASK-3 heterodimer channels, than TASK-3. Here we investigate the direct effect of doxapram and chirally separated, individual positive and negative enantiomers of the compound, on both human and mouse, homodimeric and heterodimeric variants of TASK-1 and TASK-3.


Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology on tsA201 cells was used to assess the potency of doxapram on cloned human or mouse TASK-1, TASK-3 and TASK-2 channels. Mutations of amino acids in the pore-lining region of TASK-3 channels were introduced using site-directed mutagenesis.


Doxapram was an equipotent inhibitor of human TASK-1 and TASK-3 channels, compared with mouse channel variants, where it was more selective for TASK-1 and heterodimers of TASK-1 and TASK-3. The effect of doxapram could be attenuated by either the removal of the C-terminus of human TASK-3 channels or mutations of particular hydrophobic residues in the pore-lining region. These mutations, however, did not alter the effect of a known extracellular inhibitor of TASK-3, zinc. The positive enantiomer of doxapram, GAL-054, was a more potent antagonist of TASK channels, than doxapram, whereas the negative enantiomer, GAL-053, had little inhibitory effect.


These data show that in contrast to rodent channels, doxapram is a potent inhibitor of both TASK-1 and TASK-3 human channels, providing further understanding of the pharmacological profile of doxapram in humans and informing the development of new therapeutic agents.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ventilatory stimulant, stimulants, doxapram enantiomers heterodimers K2P channels respiratory stimulant TASK‐1 channels TASK‐3 channels
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Depositing User: Alistair Mathie
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 10:46
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2022 09:44
URI: https://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1905

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