Send to

Choose Destination
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Mar;203(1):41-52. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1373-7. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Acid sensing ion channel (ASIC) inhibitors exhibit anxiolytic-like activity in preclinical pharmacological models.

Author information

Discovery Neuroscience, Wyeth Research, CN 8000, Princeton, NJ, 08543-8000, USA.



Acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) are proton-gated ion channels located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Of particular interest is ASIC1a, which is located in areas associated with fear and anxiety behaviors. Recent reports suggest a role for ASIC1a in preclinical models of fear conditioning and anxiety.


The present experiments evaluated various ASIC inhibitors in preclinical models of autonomic and behavioral parameters of anxiety. In addition, neurochemical studies evaluated the effects of an ASIC inhibitor (A-317567) on neurotransmitter levels in the amygdala.


In electrophysiological studies using hippocampal primary neuronal cultures, three ASIC inhibitors (PcTX-1, A-317567, and amiloride) produced concentration-dependent inhibition of acid-evoked currents. In the stress-induced hyperthermia model, acute administration of psalmotoxin 1 (PcTX-1; 10-56 ng, i.c.v.), A-317567 (0.1-1.0 mg/kg, i.p.), and amiloride (10-100 mg/kg, i.p.) prevented stress-induced elevations in core body temperature. In the four-plate test, acute treatment with PcTX-1 (10-56 ng, i.c.v.) and A-317567 (0.01-0.1 mg/kg, i.p.), but not amiloride (3-100 mg/kg, i.p.), produced dose-dependent and significant increases in the number of punished crossings relative to vehicle-treated animals. Additionally, PcTX-1 (56-178 ng, i.c.v.), A-317567 (0.1-10 mg/kg, i.p.), and amiloride (10-100 mg/kg, i.p.) lacked significant anxiolytic-like activity in the elevated zero maze. In neurochemical studies, an infusion of A-317567 (100 microM) into the amygdala significantly elevated the extracellular levels of GABA, but not glutamate, in this brain region.


These findings demonstrate that ASIC inhibition produces anxiolytic-like effects in some behavioral models and indicate a potential role for GABAergic mechanisms to underlie these anxiolytic-like effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center