DOI: 10.3390/ijms242417161 ISSN: 1422-0067

Acid-Sensing Ion Channels’ Immunoreactivity in Nerve Profiles and Glomus Cells of the Human Carotid Body

Graciela Martínez-Barbero, Yolanda García-Mesa, Ramón Cobo, Patricia Cuendias, Benjamín Martín-Biedma, Olivia García-Suárez, Jorge Feito, Teresa Cobo, José A. Vega
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

The carotid body is a major peripheral chemoreceptor that senses changes in arterial blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH, which is important for the regulation of breathing and cardiovascular function. The mechanisms by which the carotid body senses O2 and CO2 are well known; conversely, the mechanisms by which it senses pH variations are almost unknown. Here, we used immunohistochemistry to investigate how the human carotid body contributes to the detection of acidosis, analyzing whether it expresses acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) and determining whether these channels are in the chemosensory glomic cells or in the afferent nerves. In ASIC1, ASIC2, and ASIC3, and to a much lesser extent ASIC4, immunoreactivity was detected in subpopulations of type I glomus cells, as well as in the nerves of the carotid body. In addition, immunoreactivity was found for all ASIC subunits in the neurons of the petrosal and superior cervical sympathetic ganglia, where afferent and efferent neurons are located, respectively, innervating the carotid body. This study reports for the first time the occurrence of ASIC proteins in the human carotid body, demonstrating that they are present in glomus chemosensory cells (ASIC1 < ASIC2 > ASIC3 > ASIC4) and nerves, presumably in both the afferent and efferent neurons supplying the organ. These results suggest that the detection of acidosis by the carotid body can be mediated via the ASIC ion channels present in the type I glomus cells or directly via sensory nerve fibers.

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