The effects of the antianginal drug nicorandil on electrical and mechanical activity of bullfrog atria were examined. The application of nicorandil at concentrations from 0.3 to 10m M caused a negative inotropic effect without any appreciable change in the resting membrane potential. The amplitude of action potentials was attenuated. In the voltage clamp experiments, the slow inward current was slightly inhibited, but the background inward current and delayed outward current were not affected in the presence of nicorandil. The inward rectifying properties of time-independent outward current were slightly inhibited by 10m M nicorandil. Nicorandil inhibited the caffeine-induced contractures elicited in the depolarized preparation, but had no effect on the contracture mediated through the Na-Ca exchange mechanism. These results suggest that the negative inotropic action of nicorandil is caused by inhibition of Ca influx and intracellular mobilization of Ca. Nicorandil had little effect on the potassium conductance in this preparation.
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