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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2005 Oct;30(2):207-17.

Gadolinium activates and sensitizes the vanilloid receptor TRPV1 through the external protonation sites.

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Department of Cellular Neurophysiology, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vídenská 1083, 14220 Prague 4, Czech Republic.


Gadolinium is a recognized blocker of many types of cation channels, including several channels of the transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily. In this study, we demonstrate that Gd(3+), in addition to its blocking effects, activates and potentiates the recombinant vanilloid receptor TRPV1 expressed in HEK293T cells. Whole-cell currents through TRPV1 were induced by Gd(3+) with a half-maximal activation achieved at 72 microM at +40 mV. Gd(3+), at concentrations up to 100 microM, lowered the threshold for heat activation and potentiated the currents induced by capsaicin (1 microM) and low extracellular pH (6). Higher concentrations of Gd(3+) (>300 microM) blocked the TRPV1 channel. Neutralizations of the two acidic residues, Glu600 and Glu648, which are the key residues conferring the proton-sensitivity to TRPV1, resulted in a loss of Gd(3+)-induced activation and/or a reduction in its potentiating effects. A trivalent nonlanthanide, Al(3+), that possesses much a smaller atomic mass than Gd(3+) blocked but did not activate or sensitize the TRPV1 channel. These findings indicate that Gd(3+) activates and potentiates the TRPV1 by neutralizing two specific proton-sensitive sites on the extracellular side of the pore-forming loop.

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