Acid-sensing ion channels modulate bladder nociception
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N Montalbetti and MD Carattino

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology

Sensitization of neuronal pathways and persistent afferent drive are major contributors to somatic and visceral pain. However, the underlying mechanisms that govern whether afferent signaling will give rise to sensitization and pain are not fully understood. In the present report, we investigated the contribution of acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) to bladder nociception in a model of chemical cystitis induced by cyclophosphamide (CYP). We found that the administration of CYP to mice lacking ASIC3, a subunit primarily expressed in sensory neurons, generates pelvic allodynia at a time point at which only modest changes in pelvic sensitivity are apparent in wild-type mice. The differences in mechanical pelvic sensitivity between wild-type and Asic3 knockout mice treated with CYP were ascribed to sensitized bladder C nociceptors. Deletion of Asic3 from bladder sensory neurons abolished their ability to discharge action potentials in response to extracellular acidification. Collectively, the results of our study support the notion that protons and their cognate ASIC receptors are part of a mechanism that operates at the nerve terminals to control nociceptor excitability and sensitization.

BIOSEB Instruments Used:
Von Frey Filaments (Bio-VF-M)

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