Extracellular cations sensitize and gate capsaicin receptor TRPV1 modulating pain signaling

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Gerard P AhernXiangbin Wang


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels detect diverse sensory stimuli, including alterations in osmolarity. However, a molecular detector of noxious hypertonic stimuli has not yet been identified. We show here that acute pain-related behavior evoked by elevated ionic strength is abolished in TRP vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1)-null mice and inhibited by iodoresiniferatoxin, a potent TRPV1 antagonist. Electrophysiological recordings demonstrate a novel form of ion channel modulation by which extracellular Na+, Mg2+, and Ca2+ ions sensitize and activate the capsaicin receptor, TRPV1. At room temperature, increasing extracellular Mg2+ (from 1 to 5 mM) or Na+ (+50 mM) increased ligand-activated currents up to fourfold, and 10 mM Mg2+ reduced the EC50 for activation by capsaicin from 890 to 450 nM. Moreover, concentrations of divalent cations >10 mM directly gate the receptor. These effects occur via electrostatic interactions with two glutamates (E600 and E648) formerly identified as proton-binding residues. Furthermore, phospholipase C-mediated signaling enhances the effects of cations, and physiological concentrations of cations contribute to the bradykinin-evoked activation of TRPV1 and the sensitization of the receptor to heat...Continue Reading


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