Regulation of the ion channel TRPM3 by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the implications on brain functions and diseases.

Oxidative stress (OS) describes the occurrence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), chemicals that cannot be balanced by the body’s antioxidant defenses. OS can occur in every cell of the body and is linked to an increasing number of diseases.

Recently, several reports indicated the influence of OS on transient receptor potential (TRP) channels that are expressed in various cell types and involved in a broad array of functions. More recently, it was discovered that redox reagents can modulate the activity of TRPM3, a nociceptor channel, involved in the detection of pain and heat. TRPM3 is highly expressed in the brain, but no functional role has been established for TRPM3 in this area so far. However, the brain possesses a high oxygen content and diseases like epilepsy have been linked to the occurrence of OS.

Dr. Held’s research will investigate the role of TRPM3 in the brain and in brain-related diseases that induce oxidative stress. The outcome of this project will improve our understanding of TRPM3 function and its role in cell stress-inducing pathological conditions, which could help to develop new treatment options.