Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are important for action potentials. There are seven major isoforms of the pore-forming and gate-bearing α-subunit (NaV1) of VGSCs in mammalian neurons, and a given neuron can express more than one isoform. Five of the neuronal isoforms, NaV1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, and 1.7, are exquisitely sensitive to tetrodotoxin (TTX), and a functional differentiation of these presents a serious challenge. Here, we examined a panel of 11 μ-conopeptides for their ability to block rodent NaV1.1 through 1.8 expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Although none blocked NaV1.8, a TTX-resistant isoform, the resulting “activity matrix” revealed that the panel could readily discriminate between the members of all pair-wise combinations of the tested isoforms. To examine the identities of endogenous VGSCs, a subset of the panel was tested on A- and C-compound action potentials recorded from isolated preparations of rat sciatic nerve. The results show that the major subtypes in the corresponding A- and C-fibers were NaV1.6 and 1.7, respectively. Ruled out as major players in both fiber types were NaV1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. These results are consistent with immunohistochemical findings of others. To our awareness this is the first report describing a qualitative pharmacological survey of TTX-sensitive NaV1 isoforms responsible for propagating action potentials in peripheral nerve. The panel of μ-conopeptides should be useful in identifying the functional contributions of NaV1 isoforms in other preparations
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