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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are proton-gated Na+ channels. Being almost ubiquitously present in neurons of the vertebrate nervous system, their precise function remained obscure for a long time. Various animal toxins that bind to ASICs with high affinity and specificity have been tremendously helpful in uncovering the role of ASICs. We now know that they contribute to synaptic transmission at excitatory synapses as well as to sensing metabolic acidosis and nociception. Moreover, detailed characterization of mouse models uncovered an unanticipated role of ASICs in disorders of the nervous system like stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pathological pain. This review provides an overview on the expression, structure, and pharmacology of ASICs plus a summary of what is known and what is still unknown about their physiological functions and their roles in diseases.

Keywords: Na+ channel, animal toxin, synaptic transmission, acidosis, nociception, mouse model, stroke, pathological pain, structure

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