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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Aug 2019 - 9 Aug 2019

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2019 Oct

Br J Pharmacol



Heat sensing involves a TRiPlet of ion channels.


Vriens J, Voets T
Br J Pharmacol. 2019 Oct; 176(20):3893-3898.
PMID: 31372975.


Detecting and avoiding noxious heat is crucial to prevent burn injury. While the nociceptor neurons involved in conveying heat-induced pain were identified more than a century ago, the molecular sensors responsible for detecting noxious heat had remained elusive. In a recent study, important progress was made in our understanding of the molecular basis of acute noxious heat sensing, with the identification of a set of three transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels, TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM3, which have crucial but largely redundant roles in acute heat sensing. Most strikingly, combined elimination of all three TRP channels causes a complete loss of the acute avoidance reaction to noxious heat, without affecting pain responses to painful mechanical or cold stimuli. Here, we provide a brief account of the current model of acute noxious heat sensing, and discuss possible implications for analgesic drug development.