An acid sensing ion channel (ASIC) localizes to small primary afferent neurons in rats

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THE acid sensing ion channel (ASIC) identified in rat brain and spinal cord is potentially involved in the transmission of acid-induced nociception. We have developed polyclonal antisera against ASIC, and used them to screen rat brain and spinal cord using immunocyto-chemistry. ASIC-immunoreactivity (-ir) is present in but not limited to the superficial dorsal horn, the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and the spinal trigeminal nucleus, as well as peripheral nerve fibers. These observations, combined with the disappearance of ASIC-ir following dorsal rhizotomy, suggest localization of ASIC to primary afferents. DRG ASIC-ir co-localizes with substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-ir in small capsaicin-sensitive cell bodies, suggesting that ASIC is poised to play a role in the transduction of noxious stimuli.

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