Acid-sensing ion channel 2 (asic 2) and trkb interrelationships within the intervertebral disc
The cells of the intervertebral disc (IVD) have an unusual acidic and hyperosmotic microenvironment. They express acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), gated by extracellular protons and mechanical forces, as well as neurotrophins and their signalling receptors. In the nervous tissues some neurotrophins regulate the expression of ASICs. The expression of ASIC2 and TrkB in human normal and degenerated IVD was assessed using quantitative-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we investigated immunohistochemically the expression of ASIC2 in the IVD of TrkB-deficient mice. ASIC2 and TrkB mRNAs were found in normal human IVD and both increased significantly in degenerated IVD. ASIC2 and TrkB proteins were also found co-localized in a variable percentage of cells, being significantly higher in degenerated IVD than in controls. The murine IVD displayed ASIC2 immunoreactivity which was absent in the IVD of TrkB-deficient mice. Present results demonstrate the occurrence of ASIC2 and TrkB in the human IVD, and the increased expression of both in pathological IVD suggest their involvement in IVD degeneration. These data also suggest that TrkB-ligands might be involved in the regulation of ASIC2 expression, and therefore in mechanisms by which the IVD cells accommodate to low pH and hypertonicity.
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