Electrophysiological evaluation of pentamidine and 17-AAG in human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes for safety assessment

Yumiko Asahi*, Fumimasa Nomura, Yasuyuki Abe, Masafumi Doi, Tomoko Sakakura, Kiyoshi Takasuna, Kenji Yasuda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) trafficking inhibition is known to be one of the mechanisms of indirect hERG inhibition, resulting in QT prolongation and lethal arrhythmia. Pentamidine, an antiprotozoal drug, causes QT prolongation/Torsades de Pointes (TdP) via hERG trafficking inhibition, but 17-AAG, a geldanamycin derivative heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor, has not shown torsadogenic potential clinically, despite Hsp90 inhibitors generally being hypothesized to cause TdP by hERG trafficking inhibition. In the present study, we investigated the underlying mechanisms of both drugs’ actions on hERG channels using hERG-overexpressing CHO cells (hERG-CHOs) and human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hES-CMs). The effects on hERG tail current and protein levels were evaluated using population patch clamp and Western blotting in hERG-CHOs. The effects on field potential duration (FPD) were recorded by a multi-electrode array (MEA) in hES-CMs. Neither drug affected hERG tail current acutely. Chronic treatment with each drug inhibited hERG tail current and decreased the mature form of hERG protein in hERG-CHOs, whereas the immature form of hERG protein was increased by pentamidine but decreased by 17-AAG. In MEA assays using hES-CMs, pentamidine time-dependently prolonged FPD, but 17-AAG shortened it. The FPD prolongation in hES-CMs upon chronic pentamidine exposure is relevant to its clinically reported arrhythmic risk. Cav1.2 or Nav1.5 current were not reduced by chronic application of either drug at a relevant concentration to hERG trafficking inhibition in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells. Therefore, the reason why chronic 17-AAG shortened the FPD despite the hERG trafficking inhibition occur is still unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 5


  • 17-AAG
  • Arrhythmia
  • Hsp90 inhibitor
  • Human embryonic stem cell derived-cardiomyocytes (hES-CMs)
  • Multi-electrode array (MEA)
  • hERG trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrophysiological evaluation of pentamidine and 17-AAG in human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes for safety assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this