Since the discovery of acid-sensing ion channels in 1997, their importance in the health of neurons and other non-neuronal cells has gained significant importance. Acid-sensing ion channels play important roles in mediating pain sensation during diseases such as stroke, inflammation, arthritis, cancer, and recently migraine. More interestingly, acid-sensing ion channels may explain the sex differences in pain between males and females. Also, the ability of acid-sensing ion channel blockers to exert neuroprotective effects in a number of neurodegenerative diseases has added a new dimension to their therapeutic value. The current failure rate of ∼45% of new drugs (due to toxicity issues) and saving of up to 7 years in the life span of drug approval makes drug repurposing a high priority. If acid-sensing ion channels' blockers undergo what is known as "drug repurposing", there is a great potential to bring them as medications with known safety profiles to new patient populations. However, the route of administration remains a big challenge due to their poor penetration of the blood brain and retinal barriers. In this review, the promise of using acid-sensing ion channel blockers as neuroprotective drugs is discussed.
- ion channel
- optic nerve