Hydroxychloroquine reduces heart rate by modulating the hyperpolarization-activated current If: Novel electrophysiological insights and therapeutic potential.
Capel RA., Herring N., Kalla M., Yavari A., Mirams GR., Douglas G., Bub G., Channon K., Paterson DJ., Terrar DA., Burton R-AB.
BACKGROUND: Bradycardic agents are of interest for the treatment of ischemic heart disease and heart failure, as heart rate is an important determinant of myocardial oxygen consumption. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the propensity of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to cause bradycardia. METHODS: We assessed the effects of HCQ on (1) cardiac beating rate in vitro (mice); (2) the "funny" current (If) in isolated guinea pig sinoatrial node (SAN) myocytes (1, 3, 10 µM); (3) heart rate and blood pressure in vivo by acute bolus injection (rat, dose range 1-30 mg/kg), (4) blood pressure and ventricular function during feeding (mouse, 100 mg/kg/d for 2 wk, tail cuff plethysmography, anesthetized echocardiography). RESULTS: In mouse atria, spontaneous beating rate was significantly (P < .05) reduced (by 9% ± 3% and 15% ± 2% at 3 and 10 µM HCQ, n = 7). In guinea pig isolated SAN cells, HCQ conferred a significant reduction in spontaneous action potential firing rate (17% ± 6%, 1 μM dose) and a dose-dependent reduction in If (13% ± 3% at 1 µM; 19% ± 2% at 3 µM). Effects were also observed on L-type calcium ion current (ICaL) (12% ± 4% reduction) and rapid delayed rectifier potassium current (IKr) (35% ± 4%) at 3 µM. Intravenous HCQ decreased heart rate in anesthetized rats (14.3% ± 1.1% at 15mg/kg; n = 6) without significantly reducing mean arterial blood pressure. In vivo feeding studies in mice showed no significant change in systolic blood pressure nor left ventricular function. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that HCQ acts as a bradycardic agent in SAN cells, in atrial preparations, and in vivo. HCQ slows the rate of spontaneous action potential firing in the SAN through multichannel inhibition, including that of If.