Christopher J. Benson, MD


Associate Professor of Internal Medicine  - Cardiovascular Medicine
Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information

Office: E315 GH
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-4991

Web: Internal Medicine


MD, Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota
Fellowship, Cardiovascular Medicine , Oregon Health Sciences University

Licensure and Certifications

Certification, Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
Medical License, Iowa Board of Medicine
Certification, American Board of Internal Medicine

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

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.

All Publications

Gibbons D, Kutschke W, Weiss R, Benson C.  Heart failure induces changes in acid-sensing ion channels in sensory neurons innervating skeletal muscle..  The Journal of physiology.  2015 October 15. 593(20):4575-87.

Abboud F, Benson C.  ASICs and cardiovascular homeostasis..  Neuropharmacology.  2015 July 1. 94:87-98.

Abboud F, Benson C.  ASICs and cardiovascular hemostasis.  Neuropharmacology.  2015. 94:87-98.

Gibbons D, Kutschke W, Weiss R, Benson C.  Heart failure induces changes in Acid-Sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) in sensory neurons innervating skeletal muscle.  J Physiol.  2015. 

Harding A, Kusama N, Hattori T, Gautam M, Benson C.  ASIC2 subunits facilitate expression at the cell surface and confer regulation by PSD-95.  PLoS One .  2014. 9(4):e93797.

Collier D, Tomkovicz V, Peterson Z, Benson C, Snyder P.  Intersubunit conformational changes mediate epithelial sodium channel gating.  J Gen Physiol.  2014. 144(4):337-48.

Gebska M, Benson C.  Autonomic Dysfunction and th Cardiovascular System.  Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers.  2013. 1:1187-1206.

Kido K, Gautam M, Benson C, Gu H, Brennan T.  Effect of deep tissue incision on pH responses of afferent fibers and dorsal root ganglia innervating muscle.  Anesthesiology.  2013. 119(5):1186-97.

Kusama N, Gautam M, Harding A, Snyder P, Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are differentially modulated by anions dependent on their subunit composition.  Am J Physiol Cell Physiol.  2013 January 1. 304(1):C89-C101.

Collier D, Peterson Z, Blokhin I, Benson C, Snyder P.  Identification of extracellular domain residues required for epithelial Na+ channel activation by acidic pH.  J Biol Chem.  2012 November 30. 287(49):40907-40914.

Excoffon K, Kolawole A, Kusama N, Gansemer N, Sharma P, Hruska-Hageman A, Petroff e, Benson C.  Coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) mediates trafficking of acid sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) via PSD-95.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.  2012 August 17. 425(1):13-18.

Gautam M, Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) in mouse skeletal muscle afferents are heteromers composed of ASIC1a, ASIC2, and ASIC3 subunits.  FASEB J .  2012 February. 27(2):793-802.

Gautam M, Benson C, Ranier J, Light A, Sluka K.  ASICs do not play a role in maintaining hyperalgesia induced by repeated intramuscular acid injections.  Pain Res. Treat.  2012. 2012:817347.

Kang S, Jang J, Price M, Gautam M, Benson C, Gong H, Welsh M, Brennan T.  Simultaneous disruption of mouse ASIC1a, ASIC2 and ASIC3 genes enhances cutaneous mechanosensitivity.  PLoS One.  2012. 7(4):e35225.

Walder R, Gautam M, Wilson S, Benson C, Sluka K.  Selective targeting of ASIC3 using artificial miRNAs inhibits primary and secondary hyperalgesia after muscle inflammation..  Pain.  2011 October. 152(10):2348-56.

Gautam M, Benson C, Sluka K.  Increased response of muscle sensory neurons to decreases in pH after muscle inflammation..  Neuroscience.  2010 October. 170(3):893-900.

Kusama N, Harding A, Benson C.  Extracellular chloride modulates the desensitization kinetics of acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a)..  J Biol Chem.  2010 June 4. 285(23):17425-17431.

Lu Y, Ma X, Sabharwal R, Snitsarev V, Morgan D, Rahmouni K, Drummond H, Whiteis C, Costa V, Price M, Benson C, Welsh M, Chapleau M, Abboud F.  The ion channel ASIC2 is required for baroreceptor and autonomic control of the circulation. .  Neuron.  2009 December 24. 64(6):885-897.

Eshcol J, Harding A, Hattori T, Costa V, Welsh M, Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) cell surface expression is modulated by PSD-95 within lipid rafts..  AJP-Cell Physiol.  2009 September. 295(3):C732-C739.

Hattori T, Chen J, Harding A, price M, Lu Y, Abboud F, Benson C.  ASIC2a and ASIC3 heteromultimerize to form pH-sensitive channels in mouse cardiac dorsal root ganglia neurons..  Circ Res.  2009 July 31. 105(3):279-286.

Zha X, Costa V, Harding A, Reznikov L, Benson C, Welsh M.  ASIC2 subunits target acid-sensing ion channels to the synapse via an association with PSD-95. .  J Neurosci.  2009 July 1. 29(26):8438-8446.

Walder R, Benson C, Sluka K.  Acid-sensing ion channels and pain.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc..  2009. 

Zha X, Costa V, Harding A, Reznikov L, Benson C, Welsh M.  ASIC2 subunits target acid-sensing ion channels to the synapse via an association with PSD-95.  Society for Neuroscience.  2009. 

Kusama N, Harding A, Benson C.  Chloride binding site modulates the properties of ASIC3.  Experimental Biology Meeting.  2009. 

Tan Z, Lu Y, Whiteis C, Benson C, Chapleau M, Abboud F.  Acid-sensing ion channels contribute to transduction of extracellular acidosis in rat carotid body glomus cells..  Circ Res.  2007 November 9. 101(10):1009-1019.

Sluka K, Radhakrishnan R, Benson C, Eshcol J, Price M, babinski K, Audette K, Yeomans D, Wilson S.  ASIC3 in muscle mediates mechanical, but not heat, hyperalgesia associated with muscle inflammation..  Pain.  2007 May. 129(1-2):102-112.

Hattori T, Benson C.  ASIC2 and 3 contribute to the composition of ASICs in murine sympathetic cardiac afferents.  FASEB.  2007. 21:A1405.

Costa-Bartlett V, Price M, Hattori T, Burnes L, Subieta A, Brennan T, Sluka K, Benson C, Welsh M.  ASIC3 overexpression enhances thermal sensitivity in transgenic mice.  Society for Neuroscience.  2007. 

Benson C, McCleskey E.  ASICs function as cardiac lactic acid sensors during myocardial ischemia.  Springer Science Academic Publisher.  2007. 

Price M, Gong H, Hattori T, Wunsch A, Benson C, Welsh M.  Corneal sensitivity to noxious stimuli in mice missing acid sensing ion channels.  Society for Neuroscience.  2007. 

Benson C, Bawaney I, Le V, Ma X.  Cardiac acidosis triggers sympathoexcitation in mice.  Experimental Biology Meeting.  2006. 

Benson C, Eshcol J.  PSD-95 modulates ASIC3 membrane trafficking via lipid moieties.  Society for Neuroscience.  2005. 

Price M, Thompson R, Eshcol J, Wemmie J, Benson C.  Stomatin modulates gating of ASIC channels..  J Biol Chem.  2004 December 17. 279(51):53886-53891.

Hruska-Hageman A, Benson C, Leonard A, Price M, Welsh M.  PSD-95 and Lin-7b interact with acid-sensing ion channel-3 and have opposite effects on H+-gated current..  J Biol Chem.  2004 November 5. 279(45):46962-46968.

Benson C, Price M, Wemmie J, Snyder P, Welsh M.  Stomatin modulates the gating of ASIC channels.  Society for Neuroscience.  2004. 

Benson C, Xie J, Wemmie J, Price M, Henss J, Welsh M, Synder P.  Heteromultimers of DEG/ENaC subunits form H+-gated channels in mouse sensory neurons..  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.  2002 February 19. 99(4):2338-2343.

Askwith C, Benson C, Welsh M, Snyder P.  DEG/ENaC ion channels involved in sensory transduction are modulated by cold temperature..  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.  2001 May 22. 98:6459-6463.

Benson C, Wemmie J, Price M, Bielefeldt K, Henss J, Snyder P, Welsh M.  DRASIC, ASIC and BNC1 form heteromultimeric proton-gated channels in mouse DRG neurons.  Society for Neuroscience.  2001. 

Benson C, Eckert S.  Toward an understanding of the molecules that sense myocardial ischemia. .  Annals NY Acad Sci.  2001. 940:96-109.

Sutherland S, Benson C, Adelman J, McCleskey E.  Acid-sensing ion channel 3 matches the acid-gated current in cardiac ischemia-sensing neurons..  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  2001 January. 98(2):711-6.

Price M, Lewin G, McIlwrath S, Cheng C, Xie J, Heppenstall P, Stucky C, Mannsfeldt A, Brennan T, Drummond H, Qiao J, Benson C, Tarr D, Hrstka R, Yang B, Williamson R, Welsh M.  The mammalian sodium channel BNC1 is required for normal touch sensation..  Nature.  2000 October 26. 407(6807):1007-11.

Askwith C, Cheng C, Ikuma M, Benson C, Price M, Welsh M.  Neuropeptide FF and FMRFamide potentiate acid-evoked currents from sensory neurons and proton-gated DEG/ENaC channels..  Neuron.  2000 April. 26(1):133-141.

Benson C.  Acid-sensing ion channels as sensors of myocardial ischemia.  American Physiological Society.  2000. 

Benson C, Eckert S, McCleskey E.  Acid-evoked currents in cardiac sensory neurons: A possible mediator of myocardial ischemic sensation. .  Circ Res.  1999 April 30. 84(8):921-928.

Eckert S, Benson C, McCleskey E.  Proton-induced currents in cardiac sensory: A possible mediator of myocardial ischemic sensation.  Society for Neuroscience.  1998. 

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48