Oxidation of ion channels in the aging nervous system

Brain Res. 2016 May 15:1639:174-85. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.02.046. Epub 2016 Mar 3.


Ion channels are integral membrane proteins that allow passive diffusion of ions across membranes. In neurons and in other excitable cells, the harmonious coordination between the numerous types of ion channels shape and propagate electrical signals. Increased accumulation of reactive oxidative species (ROS), and subsequent oxidation of proteins, including ion channels, is a hallmark feature of aging and may contribute to cell failure as a result. In this review we discuss the effects of ROS on three major types of ion channels of the central nervous system, namely the potassium (K(+)), calcium (Ca(2+)) and sodium (Na(+)) channels. We examine two general mechanisms through which ROS affect ion channels: via direct oxidation of specific residues and via indirect interference of pathways that regulate the channels. The overall status of the present studies indicates that the interaction of ion channels with ROS is multimodal and pervasive in the central nervous system and likely constitutes a general mechanism of aging susceptibility.

Keywords: Aging; Ion channel; LTP; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Ion Channels