Abstract 956: Acid-Sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) Contribute to Transduction of Extracellular Acidosis in Rat Carotid Body Glomus Cells
The molecular mechanism of pH sensing by chemoreceptors is not clear, although it had been proposed to be mediated by a drop in intracellular pH of carotid body glomus cells, which inhibits a K+ current. Recently, pH-sensitive ion channels have been described in glomus cells that respond directly to extracellular acidosis. In this study, we investigated the possible molecular mechanisms of carotid body pH-sensing by recording the responses of glomus cells isolated from rat carotid body to rapid changes in extracellular pH using whole-cell patch-clamping technique. Extracellular acidosis evoked transient inward currents in glomus cells that were evident at pH 7.0 and half-activated (pH 50) at 6.3. The current had the characteristics of ASICs. It averaged 40.7±15.7 pA (n=5) at pH 5.0 and was blocked by the ASIC channel blocker amiloride (200 μm) to 2.5±1.6 pA. Na+ free bathing solution eliminated the current and a Ca2+ free buffer enhanced (P<0.05) the current at pH 6.0 from 18.5±2.2 to 86.0±12.5 pA (n=5). Enhancement of the current was also seen with the addition of lactate. In the current clamp mode extracellular acidosis evoked both a transient and sustained depolarization. The initial transient component at pH 6.0 averaged 18.2±2.6 mV and was blocked by amiloride to 2.1±2.1 mV supporting the contribution of ASICs. However, the sustained depolarization was not blocked by amiloride but was eliminated by removal of K+ from the pipette solution which reduced significantly intracellular K+. This sustained depolarization was partially blocked by the TASK channels blockers anandamide (from 14.9±1.6 mV to 9.3±2.2 mV at pH 6.0, n=5) and quinidine (from 27.5±2.2 mV to 11.3±2.3 mV at pH 6.0, n=3). The results provide the first evidence that ASICs may contribute to chemotransduction of low pH by carotid body chemoreceptors, and that extracellular acidosis directly activates carotid body chemoreceptors through both ASIC and TASK channels.