Whole-exome sequencing of a family with local anesthetic resistance

Nathan Clendenen, Ashley D. Cannon, Steven Porter, Christopher B. Robards, Alexander S. Parker, Steven R. Clendenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Local anesthetics (LA) work by blocking sodium conductance through voltage-gated sodium channels. Complete local anesthetic resistance is infrequent, and the cause is unknown. Genetic variation in sodium channels is a potential mechanism for local anesthetic resistance. A patient with a history of inadequate loss of sensation following LAadministration underwent an ultrasound-guided brachial plexus nerve block with a complete failure of the block. We hypothesized that LAresistance is due to a variant form of voltage-gated sodium channel. METHODS: Whole-Exome Sequencing. The patient and her immediate family provided consent for exome sequencing, and they were screened with a questionnaire to identify family members with a history of LA resistance. Exome sequencing results for four individuals were referenced to the 1000 Genomes Project and the NHLBI ESP to identify variants associated with local anesthetic resistance present in less than 1% of the general population and located in functional regions of the genome. RESULTS: Exome sequencing of the four family members identified one genetic variant in the voltage-gated sodium channel shared by the three individuals with LA resistance but not present in the unaffected family member. Specifically, we noted the A572D mutation in the SCN5A gene encoding for Nav1.5. CONCLUSIONS: We identified a genetic variant that is associated with LA resistance in the gene encoding for Nav1.5. We also demonstrate that Nav1.5 is present in human peripheral nerves to support the plausibility that an abnormal form of the Nav1.5 protein could be responsible for the observed local anesthetic resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1097
Number of pages9
JournalMinerva anestesiologica
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016


  • Anesthesia
  • Exome
  • Gated Sodium Channel
  • Local
  • NAV1.5 Voltage
  • Peripheral nerves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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