Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Aug 15;64(4):286-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.02.020. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Antistress effect of TRPV1 channel on synaptic plasticity and spatial memory.

Author information

  • 1Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms, and KIZ/CUHK Joint Laboratory of Bioresources and Molecular Research in Common Diseases, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, People's Republic of China.



Stress is believed to exacerbate neuropsychiatric and cognitive disorders. In particular, the hippocampus, which plays critical roles in certain types of memory, including spatial memory, is exquisitely sensitive to stress. Certain types of memory are believed to depend on activity-dependent hippocampal synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), but stress suppresses LTP and facilitates LTD in the hippocampus and impairs spatial memory. Although the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1 or VR1) is widely expressed in the hippocampus, it remains unknown whether the TRPV1 channel antagonizes the stress effects on hippocampal function.


Using the TRPV1 agonists capsaicin and resiniferatoxin and selective antagonists capsazepine and SB366791, we examined the effect of TRPV1 activation on LTP and LTD in hippocampal CA1 slices of juvenile rats. Furthermore, we examined whether the effects of acute stress on synaptic plasticity and spatial memory could be prevented by intrahippocampal or intragastric infusion of a TRPV1 agonist.


The TRPV1 agonists capsaicin and resiniferatoxin facilitated LTP but suppressed LTD. Alterations were mediated by TRPV1 because the TRPV1 selective antagonists capsazepine and SB366791 blocked the actions of capsaicin. Acute stress suppressed LTP and enabled LTD, but the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin effectively prevented this effect. When capsaicin was intrahippocampally or intragastrically infused, the acute stress effect on impairing spatial memory retrieval was completely prevented.


The TRPV1 channel is a potential target to facilitate LTP and suppress LTD, in turn protecting hippocampal synaptic plasticity and spatial memory retrieval from the influence of acute stress.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk