* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 27, 2014
According to a modern look acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are one of the most important receptors that perceive pH change in the body. ASICs represent proton-gated Na+-selective channels, which are expressed in neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. These channels are attracting attention of researchers around the world, as they are involved in various physiological processes in the body. Drop of pH may occur in tissues in norm (e.g. the accumulation of lactic acid, the release of protons upon ATP hydrolysis) and pathology (inflammation, ischemic stroke, tissue damage and seizure). These processes are accompanied by unpleasant pain sensations, which may be short-lived or can lead to chronic inflammatory diseases. Modulators of ASIC channels activity are potential candidates for new effective analgesic and neuroprotection drugs. This review summarizes available information about structure, function, and physiological role of ASIC channels. In addition a description of all known ligands of these channels and their practical relevance is provided.
KEY WORDS: acid-sensing ion channel, pain perception, ligand, low molecular weight modulator, peptide