Acid-sensing ion channels ASICs) are ligand-gated cation channels that respond to acidic stimuli. They are expressed throughout the mammalian nervous system. In the peripheral nervous system, ASICs act as nociceptors, responding to the tissue acidosis that accompanies ischemic and inflammatory conditions. The function of ASICs in the central nervous system is not known. In this article, the authors present evidence that transient global ischemia induces ASIC 2a protein expression in neurons that survive ischemia. Western blot analysis with an anti-ASIC 2a antibody revealed up-regulation of an 80 kD protein in ischemic rat brain. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that ASIC 2a protein expression increased in neurons of the hippocampus and cortex. Klenow fragment-mediated labeling of DNA strand breaks determined that ASIC 2a induction did not occur in cells with detectable DNA damage. The current results suggest a possible role for ASICs in mediating a cellular response to ischemia.
- Acid-sensing ion channel
- Proton-gated ion channel