Neurotransmitter vesicles are known to concentrate hydrogen ions (or protons), the simplest ion, and to release them during neurotransmission. Furthermore, receptors highly sensitive to protons, acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), were previously localized on the opposite side of the synaptic cleft on dendritic spines. Now, recent experiments provide some of the strongest support to date that protons function as a neurotransmitter in mice, crossing synapses onto medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens (NAc), activating ASICs, and ultimately suppressing drug abuse-related behaviors.
- Nucleus accumbens
- Synaptic transmission