Department of Internal Medicine
Cardiovascular Medicine Faculty
Christopher J. Benson, M.D.
Dr. Benson's research interests include the study of ion channels involved in sensation. We have focused on a class of ion channels called Acid-sensing Ion Channels (ASICs), which play a role in responses to nociceptive, taste, and mechanical stimuli. We have discovered that ASICs are highly expressed in cardiac sensory neurons and we believe they are particularly important as pH sensors in the setting of myocardial ischemia. In addition, we are interested in how cardiac afferent activation might trigger deleterious neural reflexes in cardiac disease states. Our lab is also interested on the general physiology of ASIC channels, and has discovered several proteins and signaling pathways that modulate ASIC function. Our research methods utilize electrophysiology, whole animal recordings, molecular and cell biology, and protein biochemistry techniques.
Honors, Awards, and Organizations
- Alpha Omega Alpha, 1990
- Minnesota Medical Foundation Institutional Medical Student Research Award, 1990
- American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, 1995
- NIH K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award, 1999-2005
- NIH R01, "Acid-Sensing Ion Channels in Cardiac Ischemia", 2004-active
- Cardiovascular Fellowship Research Director, 2004-
- Benson, C.J., Sutherland, S.P.: Toward an understanding of the molecules that sense myocardial ischemia. Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. 940:96-109, 2001.
- Benson, C.J., Xie, J., Wemmie, J.A., Price, M.P., Henss, J.M., Welsh, M.J., and Snyder, P.M.: Heteromultimers of DEG/ENaC subunits form H+-gated channels in mouse sensory neurons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99:2338-2343, 2002.
- Price, M.P., Thompson, R.J., Eshcol, J.O., Wemmie, J.A., and Benson, C.J.: Stomatin modulates gating of ASIC channels. J. Biol. Chem. 279(51):53886-53891, 2004.
- Tan, Z.Y., Lu, Y., Whiteis, C.A., Benson, C.J., Chapleau, M.W., and Abboud, F.M.: Acid-sensing ion channels contribute to transduction of extracellular acidosis in rat carotid body glomus cells. Circ. Res. 101(10):1009-1019, 2007.
- Eshcol, J.O., Harding, A.M.S., Hattori, T., Costa, V., Welsh, M.J., and Benson, C.J.: Acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) cell surface expression is modulated by PSD-95 within lipid rafts. AJP-Cell Physiol. 295(3):C732-739, 2008.
- Zha, X.M., Costa, V., Harding, A.M.S., Reznikov, L., Benson, C.J. and Welsh M.J.: ASIC2 subunits target acid-sensing ion channels to the synapse via an association with PSD-95. J. Neurosci. 29:8438-8446, 2009.
- Hattori, T., Chen, J., Hardin, A.M.S., Price, M.P., Lu, Y., Abboud, F.M., and Benson, C.J.: Acid-sensing ion channels 2a and 3 heteromultimerize to form pH-sensitive channels in mouse cardiac dorsal root ganglia neurons. Circ Res. 105(3):279-86, 2009.
- Lu Y, Ma X, Sabharwal R, Snitsarev V, Morgan D, Rahmouni K, Drummond HA, Whiteis CA, Costa V, Price M, Benson C, Welsh MJ, Chapleau MW, Abboud FM: The ion channel ASIC2 is required for baroreceptor and autonomic control of the circulation. Neuron 64(6):885-97, 2009. PMID: 20064394
- Kusama N, Harding AM, Benson CJ: Extracellular chloride modulates the desensitization kinetics of acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a). J Biol Chem 285:17425-31, 2010