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Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;163:27-64. doi: 10.1007/112_2012_8.

TRPs in the Brain.

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Laboratory of Ion Channel Research, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM), KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, bus 802, BE-3000, Leuven, Belgium.


The Transient receptor potential (TRP) family of cation channels is a large protein family, which is mainly structurally uniform. Proteins consist typically of six transmembrane domains and mostly four subunits are necessary to form a functional channel. Apart from this, TRP channels display a wide variety of activation mechanisms (ligand binding, G-protein coupled receptor dependent, physical stimuli such as temperature, pressure, etc.) and ion selectivity profiles (from highly Ca(2+) selective to non-selective for cations). They have been described now in almost every tissue of the body, including peripheral and central neurons. Especially in the sensory nervous system the role of several TRP channels is already described on a detailed level. This review summarizes data that is currently available on their role in the central nervous system. TRP channels are involved in neurogenesis and brain development, synaptic transmission and they play a key role in the development of several neurological diseases.

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