Ion channels are membrane proteins that act as gated pathways for the movement of ions across cell membranes. They play essential roles in the physiology of all cells. In recent years, an ever-increasing number of human and animal diseases have been found to result from defects in ion channel function. Most of these diseases arise from mutations in the genes encoding ion channel proteins, and they are now referred to as the channelopathies. Ion Channels and Disease provides an informative and up-to-date account of our present understanding of ion channels and the molecular basis of ion channel diseases. It includes a basic introduction to the relevant aspects of molecular biology and biophysics and a brief description of the principal methods used to study channelopathies. For each channel, the relationship between its molecular structure and its functional properties is discussed and ways in which genetic mutations produce the disease phenotype are considered. This book is intended for research workers and clinicians, as well as graduates and advanced undergraduates. The text is clear and lively and assumes little knowledge, yet it takes the reader to frontiers of what is currently known about this most exciting and medically important area of physiology.

Key Features

@introbul:Key Features @bul:* Introduces the relevant aspects of molecular biology and biophysics * Describes the principal methods used to study channelopathies * Considers single classes of ion channels with summaries of the physiological role, subunit composition, molecular structure and chromosomal location, plus the relationship between channel structure and function * Looks at those diseases associated with defective channel structures and regulation, including mutations affecting channel function and to what extent this change in channel function can account for the clinical phenotype


Graduates and undergraduates in biological and biomedical sciences.

Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction. From Gene to Protein. How Channels Work. Methods for Studying Ion Channels. Voltage-Gated Na+ Channels. Voltage-Gated K+ Channels. Ca-Activated K+ Channels. Inward Rectifier K+ Channels. Voltage-Gated Ca2+ Channels. Voltage-Gated Cl- Channels. Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels. CFTR. Epithelia Na+ Channels. Ligand-Gated Ca2+ Channels. ACh Receptor Channels. Glutamate Receptor Channels. Glycine Receptors. GABA Receptors. Water Channels. Gap Junction Channels. Antibodies to Ion Channels. Ion Channels in Viruses. Ion Channels as Lethal Agents. A Miscellany of Ion Channels. The Last Word. References. Subject Index.


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© 2000
Academic Press
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About the author

Frances Ashcroft

Dr. Frances Ashcroft is a Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Research Professor at the University Laboratory of Physiology and a Fellow of Trinity College at the University of Oxford. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1999, she wrote the previous edition of Ion Channels and Disease and is Director of both the Oxford Centre for Gene Function and OXION, a training and research program on the integrative physiology of ion channels. In addition to being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999, Dr. Ashcroft was also awarded the Walter B. Cannon Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Physiological Society, and the 2012 L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. She was awarded honorary degrees of Doctor of the University from the Open University and Doctor of Science from the University of Leicester for her incredible contributions to ion channel physiology. Her current research focuses on the role of ATP-sensitive potassium channels in insulin secretion in both health and disease, aiming to decipher why this process is dysfunctional in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Oxford, U.K.


"...this volume is a gem of large proportion. The clear writing style, comprehensive coverage, up to date information and low cost mandate a most enthusiastic recommendation to any physician interested in the mechanisms of epilepsy." -EPILEPSY RESEARCH (February 2001) "The book is self-contained in the sense that it provides all the background knowledge necessary to understand the field. ...It manages to communicate complex ideas with clarity, precision and efficiency, and I personally enjoyed the sense of history that pervades the book, as well as the lucid style in which it is written." -Blanche Schwappach, Universitate Heidelberg, in NATURE CELL BIOLOGY (September 2000) "...a fascinating and accessible account of ion-channel diseases. Each chapter is illustrated with useful figures and diagrams...a very good introduction to the whole field of ion channels, and will be useful for researchers, clinicians and students. ...It is the favourite of several of my colleagues." -Thomas J. Jentsch in NATURE (July 2000) "This is a well documented and informative treatise on ion channels and associated pathologies. Experimental details are omitted without compromising clarity and understanding, making this an easy to read reference source... The audience is broad, ranging from advanced undergraduates to clinicians and researchers. The author reaches this large group with a balance among introductory scientific details, relevance, and completeness... Researchers will appreciate the full range of topics and extensive bibliography. Clinicians will find molecular explanations of pathologies such as retinitis pigmentosa, cystic fibrosis, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease enlightening... This much needed book is informative, readable, and worth having." —DOODY'S PUBLISHING REVIEWS (2000) "This relevant and timely book provides an extensive and excellent overview of membrane chann