Oxaliplatin is an agent that is used extensively in gastrointestinal cancer chemotherapy. The agent's major dose-limiting toxicity is peripheral neuropathy that can manifest as a chronic or an acute syndrome. Oxaliplatin-induced acute neuropathy is purportedly caused by an alteration of the biophysical properties of voltage-gated sodium channels. However, sodium channel blockers have not been successful at preventing acute neuropathy in the clinical setting. We report intra-axonal recordings from the isolated rat sciatic nerve preparation under the effect of oxaliplatin. The depolarization phase of single action potentials remains intact with a duration of 0.52 ± 0.02 ms (n=68) before and 0.55 ± 0.01 ms (n=68) after 1-5 h of exposure to 150 μM oxaliplatin (unpaired t-test, P > 0.05) whereas there is a significant broadening of the repolarization phase (2.16 ± 0.10 ms, n=68, before and 5.90 ± 0.32 ms after, n=68, unpaired t-test, P < 0.05). Apart from changes in spike shape, oxaliplatin also had drastic concentration- and time-dependent effects on the firing responses of fibers to short stimuli. In the intra-axonal recordings, three groups of firing patterns were indentified. The first group shows bursting (internal frequency 90 - 130 Hz, n=88), the second shows a characteristic plateau (at -19.27±2.84 mV, n=31, with durations ranging from 45 - 140 ms depending on the exposure time), and the third combines a plateau and a bursting period. Our results implicate the voltage-gated potassium channels as additional oxaliplatin targets, opening up new perspectives for the pharmacological prevention of peripheral neuropathy.
Keywords: Action potential, Colorectal cancer, Hyperexcitability, Intra-axonal recordings, Peripheral neuropathy, Oxaliplatin, Sciatic nerve fiber
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