Voriconazole, an antifungal triazol that causes visual side effects, is an inhibitor of TRPM1 and TRPM3 channels

Wei Hong Xiong, R. Lane Brown, Brian Reed, Neal S. Burke, Robert M. Duvoisin, Catherine W. Morgans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Administration of voriconazole, an antifungal triazole, causes transient visual disturbances in patients and attenuates the b-wave of the ERG. We sought to identify the retinal target of voriconazole underlying the effect on the ERG b-wave. METHODS. Electroretinograms were recorded from mice before and after intraperitoneal injection of voriconazole. The effect of voriconazole on ON-bipolar cells was tested by patchclamp recordings of ON-bipolar cells in mouse retinal slices. Effects of voriconazole on mGluR6 and TRPM3 were assessed by patch-clamp recordings of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) and HEK293 cells transfected with either TRPM3 or mGluR6 plus Kir3.1/Kir3.4. RESULTS. Voriconazole attenuated the ERG b-wave in mice, and inhibited ON-bipolar cell responses evoked by application of CPPG, an mGluR6 antagonist, onto the ON-bipolar cell dendrites, indicating that voriconazole blocks a step in the mGluR6-TRPM1 signal transduction pathway. Voriconazole almost completely blocked capsaicin-activated currents in ON-bipolar cells, which have been attributed to direct activation of the TRPM1 cation channel. Furthermore, application of voriconazole to CHO cells expressing TRPM3, a closely related channel to TRPM1, showed that voriconazole reversibly blocked pregnenolone sulfate–stimulated TRPM3 currents in transfected cells. In contrast, voriconazole only slightly inhibited mGluR6-mediated activation of G-protein activated inward rectifier potassium (GIRK) currents in cotransfected cells, suggesting that mGluR6 is not the primary target of voriconazole in ON-bipolar cells. CONCLUSIONS. The visual disturbances associated with voriconazole are likely due to block of TRPM1 channels in retinal ON-bipolar cells. Other neurological effects of voriconazole may be due to block of TRPM3 channels expressed in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1367-1373
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • B-wave
  • Bipolar cell
  • MGluR6
  • TRPM1
  • Voriconazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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