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Pain. 1990 Apr;41(1):61-9.

Capsaicin: actions on nociceptive C-fibres and therapeutic potential.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University College London, U.K.

Abstract

Recent work on the excitatory action of capsaicin on somatic and visceral afferent neurones shows that depolarization is selective for C-fibre polymodal nociceptor afferents and involves opening a non-selective cation channel. Exposure to significantly suprathreshold amounts of capsaicin causes permanent degeneration of C-fibre afferents in adult rats. Functional changes in rats (hypalgesia, diminished neurogenic inflammation) are likely to be a direct consequence of the loss of C-fibre nociceptors, and so are the reductions in neuropeptide levels that follow adult capsaicin treatment. Clinical trials of topical capsaicin treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia have yielded promising results. The selective nature of the action of capsaicin in reducing just C-nociceptor activity may make it particularly useful for treating pain states triggered by C-fibre input.

PMID:
2162021
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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