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Acid-ion sensing channel 1a deletion reduces chronic brain damage and neurological deficits after experimental traumatic brain injury.

J Neurotrauma. 2021 Mar 27. doi: 10.1089/neu.2020.7568. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33779289.

Authors/Editors: Chen S, Mao X, Lin X, Wehn A, Hu S, Mamrak U, Khalin I, Wostrack M, Ringel F, Plesnila N, Terpolilli NA.
Publication Date: 2021


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes long-lasting neurodegeneration and cognitive impairments, however, the underlying mechanisms of these processes are not fully understood. Acid-sensing ion channels 1a (ASIC1a) are voltage-gated Na+-and Ca2+-channels shown to be involved in neuronal cell death, however, their role for chronic post-traumatic brain damage is largely unknown. To address this issue we used ASIC1a-deficient mice and investigated their outcome up to six months after TBI. ASIC1a-deficient mice and their wild-type littermates were subjected to controlled cortical impact (CCI) or sham surgery. Brain water content was analyzed 24 h and behavioral outcome up to six months after CCI. Lesion volume was assessed longitudinally by magnetic resonance imaging and six months after injury by histology. Brain water content was significantly reduced in ASIC1a-/- animals compared to wild-type controls. Over time, ASIC1a-/- mice showed significantly reduced lesion volume and reduced hippocampal damage. This translated into improved cognitive function and reduced depression-like behavior. Microglial activation was significantly reduced in ASIC1a-/- mice. In conclusion, ASIC1a-deficiency resulted in reduced edema formation acutely after TBI and less brain damage, functional impairments, and neuroinflammation up to six months after injury. Hence, ASIC1a seems to be involved in chronic neurodegeneration after TBI.

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