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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Aug 2020 - 4 Sep 2020

Animal Studies


2020 Aug 30

Eur J Pain

Psoralens activate and photosensitize Transient Receptor Potential channels Ankyrin type 1 (TRPA1) and Vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1).


Babes A, Kichko TI, Selescu T, Manolache A, Neacsu C, Gebhardt L, Reeh PW
Eur J Pain. 2020 Aug 30.
PMID: 32862473.


PUVA (psoralen UVA) therapy is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as vitiligo psoriasis, eczema and mycosis fungoides, but it is frequently accompanied by phototoxicity leading to burning pain, itch and erythema. Clinically used psoralen derivatives 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) and 5-methoxypsoralen at physiologically relevant concentrations were able to activate and photosensitize two recombinant thermoTRP (temperature-gated Transient Receptor Potential) ion channels, TRPA1 (Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin type 1) and TRPV1 (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid type 1), which are known to be involved in pain and itch signaling. 8-MOP enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by UVA light, and the effect of 8-MOP on TRPA1 could be abolished by the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine and by removal of critical cysteine residues from the N-terminus domain of the channel. Natively expressed mouse TRPA1 and TRPV1 both contribute to photosensitization of cultured primary afferent neurons by 8-MOP, while direct neuronal activation by this psoralen-derivative is mainly dependent on TRPV1. Both TRPA1 and TRPV1 are to a large extent involved in controlling 8-MOP-induced neuropeptide release from mouse trachea. Taken together our results provide a better understanding of the phototoxicity reported by PUVA patients and indicate a possible therapeutic approach to alleviate the adverse effects associated with this therapy.