The effects of diltiazem, a drug which inhibits the calcium channels in cardiac muscle as well as the light-sensitive channels in photoreceptor cells, were studied on ionic fluxes in both membrane and intact cell preparations. Diltiazem nonselectively increased the ionic permeability to both anions and cations in photoreceptor rod outer segment and synaptic membrane vesicles as well as in intact erythrocytes. Under our conditions, the estimated threshold for the diltiazem effect varied between 12.5 and 200 microM. In each case the concentration dependence exhibited the sigmoidal shape characteristic of positive cooperativity. The effect of diltiazem on ionic fluxes from phospholipid vesicles were strongly influenced by phospholipid composition and membrane charge. By contrast, diltiazem inhibited the efflux of 86Rb from photoreceptor cells of intact aspartate-isolated retina, an effect opposite to that of diltiazem on ionic permeabilities in photoreceptor membrane vesicle preparations. These data raise serious doubts on the specificity of diltiazem as a calcium channel blocker or as a cGMP channel blocker when used at concentrations higher than 10 microM.
Diltiazem at high concentration increases the ionic permeability of biological membranes. / A. Caretta;R. T. Sorbi;P. J. Stein;R. Tirindelli. - In: THE JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0022-2631. - 122(1991), pp. 203-213.
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