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Acidification of rat TRPV1 alters the kinetics of capsaicin responses

Torben R Neelands*, Michael F Jarvis, Ping Han, Connie R Faltynek and Carol S Surowy

Author Affiliations

Neuroscience Research, Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abbott Laboratories, R04PM, AP9A, Abbott Park, IL, 60064-6123, USA

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Molecular Pain 2005, 1:28  doi:10.1186/1744-8069-1-28

Published: 28 September 2005


TRPV1 (vanilloid receptor 1) receptors are activated by a variety of ligands such as capsaicin, as well as by acidic conditions and temperatures above 42°C. These activators can enhance the potency of one another, shifting the activation curve for TRPV1 to the left. In this study, for example, we observed an approximately 10-fold shift in the capsaicin EC50 (640 nM to 45 nM) for rat TRPV1 receptors expressed in HEK-293 cells when the pH was lowered from 7.4 to 5.5. To investigate potential causes for this shift in capsaicin potency, the rates of current activation and deactivation of whole-cell currents were measured in individual cells exposed to treatments of pH 5.5, 1 μM capsaicin or in combination. Acidic pH was found to both increase the activation rate and decrease the deactivation rate of capsaicin-activated currents providing a possible mechanism for the enhanced potency of capsaicin under acidic conditions. Utilizing a paired-pulse protocol, acidic pH slowed the capsaicin deactivation rate and was readily reversible. Moreover, the effect could occur under modestly acidic conditions (pH 6.5) that did not directly activate TRPV1. When TRPV1 was maximally activated by capsaicin and acidic pH, the apparent affinity of the novel and selective capsaicin-site competitive TRPV1 antagonist, A-425619, was reduced ~35 fold. This shift was overcome by reducing the capsaicin concentration co-applied with acidic pH. Since inflammation is associated with tissue acidosis, these findings enhance understanding of TRPV1 receptor responses in inflammatory pain where tissue acidosis is prevalent.

kinetics; electrophysiology; patch-clamp; pharmacology; TRPV1; acid; capsaicin