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Physiol Res. 2008;57 Suppl 3:S69-77. Epub 2008 May 13.

The role of spinal cord vanilloid (TRPV1) receptors in pain modulation.

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Department of Functional Morphology, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptor is a nonselective cation channel activated by capsaicin, a pungent substance from chili peppers. It is considered to act as an integrator of various physical and chemical nociceptive stimuli, as it can be gated by noxious heat (>43 oC), low pH (protons) and also by recently described endogenous lipids. The structure and function of TRPV1 receptors was vigorously studied, especially since its cloning in 1997. However, most of the research was pointed towards the role of TRPV1 receptors in the peripheral tissues. Mounting evidence now suggests that TRPV1 receptors on the central branches of dorsal root ganglion neurons in the spinal cord may play an important role in modulation of pain and nociceptive transmission. The aim of this short review was to summarize the knowledge about TRPV1 receptors in the spinal cord dorsal horn, preferentially from morphological and electrophysiological studies on spinal cord slices and from in vivo experiments.

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