Published in Volume
97, Issue 5
(March 1, 1996)J Clin Invest.
1996, The American Society for
Therapy with oral clotrimazole induces inhibition of the Gardos channel and reduction of erythrocyte dehydration in patients with sickle cell disease.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. email@example.com
Published March 1, 1996
Pathologic water loss from sickle erythrocytes concentrates the abnormal hemoglobin and promotes sickling. The Ca2+-activated K+ channel (Gardos channel) contributes to this deleterious dehydration in vitro, and blockade of K+ and water loss via this channel could be a potential therapy in vivo. We treated five subjects who have sickle cell anemia with oral clotrimazole, a specific Gardos channel inhibitor. Patients were started on a dose of 10 mg clotrimazole/kg/d for one week. Protocol design allowed the daily dose to be escalated by 10 mg/kg each week until significant changes in erythrocyte density and K+ transport were achieved. Blood was sampled three times a week for hematological and chemical assays, erythrocyte density, cation content, and K+ transport. At dosages of 20 mg clotrimazole/kg/d, all subjects showed Gardos channel inhibition, reduced erythrocyte dehydration, increased cell K+ content, and somewhat increased hemoglobin levels. Adverse effects were limited to mild/moderate dysuria in all subjects, and a reversible increase in plasma alanine transaminase and aspartic transaminase levels in two subjects treated with 30 mg clotrimazole/kg/d. This is the first in vivo evidence that the Gardos channel causes dehydration of sickle erythrocytes, and that its pharmacologic inhibition provides a realistic antisickling strategy.