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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Mar 2023 - 17 Mar 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2023 Mar 14

Med Res Rev


Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1)-independent actions of capsaicin on cellular excitability and ion transport.


Oz M, Lorke DE, Howarth FC


Capsaicin is a naturally occurring alkaloid derived from chili pepper that is responsible for its hot pungent taste. Capsaicin is known to exert multiple pharmacological actions, including analgesia, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiobesity, and antioxidant effects. The transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily member 1 (TRPV1) is the main receptor mediating the majority of the capsaicin effects. However, numerous studies suggest that the TRPV1 receptor is not the only target for capsaicin. An increasing number of studies indicates that capsaicin, at low to mid µM ranges, not only indirectly through TRPV1-mediated Ca increases, but also directly modulates the functions of voltage-gated Na , K , and Ca channels, as well as ligand-gated ion channels and other ion transporters and enzymes involved in cellular excitability. These TRPV1-independent effects are mediated by alterations of the biophysical properties of the lipid membrane and subsequent modulation of the functional properties of ion channels and by direct binding of capsaicin to the channels. The present study, for the first time, systematically categorizes this diverse range of non-TRPV1 targets and discusses cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating TRPV1-independent effects of capsaicin in excitable, as well as nonexcitable cells.