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Re: tarantula venom extract: next anxiety treatmen

Posted by nolvas on September 29, 2007, at 9:14:40

In reply to tarantula venom extract: next anxiety treatment?, posted by qqqsimmons on September 29, 2007, at 9:11:04

" John Wemmie, M.D., Ph.D.

Anxiety disorders are a major cause of disability and distress. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of anxiety may lead to improved treatment and prevention of these common illnesses. We recently found that the acid sensing ion channel ASIC1 contributes to Pavlovian fear conditioning, an important animal model of acquired anxiety. We generated knockout mice lacking the ASIC1 gene and produced transgenic mice overexpressing ASIC1. We found that ASIC1 knockout mice had less fear than wild-type littermates, while transgenic mice overexpressing ASIC1 exhibited more fear. Because ASIC1 levels modulated the degree of acquired fear, these data suggest that ASIC1 may contribute to anxiety disorders. Moreover, because disrupting ASIC1 reduced fear without causing any gross physical or behavioral abnormalities, ASIC1 inhibitors might provide a novel and safe approach for treating anxiety in the clinic. ASIC1 is required for neurons to respond normally to a drop in extracellular pH. Therefore ASIC1 activation might be important for sensing brain acidosis, which can be caused by carbon dioxide (CO 2) inhalation, which has long been known to trigger panic attacks in patients with panic disorder. Because ASIC1 can modulate fear and because it is a good candidate for detecting CO 2/acid in the brain, it may contribute to CO 2 sensitivity and perhaps panic disorder. My lab is currently exploring this hypothesis and is beginning to test the potential therapeutic value of ASIC1-inhibitors."

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