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Toxicol Lett. 2013 Mar 13;217(3):192-6. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.12.025. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Lack of transient receptor potential melastatin 8 activation by phthalate esters that enhance contact hypersensitivity in mice.

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Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, 52-1 Yada, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka 422-8526, Japan.


We studied the involvement of sensory neurons in skin sensitization to allergens using a mouse model in which the T-helper type 2 response is essential. Skin sensitization to fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) has been shown to be enhanced by several phthalate esters, including dibutyl phthalate (DBP). For different types of phthalate esters, we found a correlation between the ability of transient receptor potential (TRP) A1 activation and that of enhancing skin sensitization. A TRPA1-specific antagonist, HC-030031, was shown to suppress skin sensitization in the presence of DBP. However, since phthalate esters also activate TRPV1, phthalate esters could activate other types of TRP channels non-selectively. Furthermore, sensitization to FITC is also enhanced by menthol, which activates TRPA1 and TRPM8. Here we established an in vitro system for measuring TRPM8 activation. The selectivity for TRPM8 was established by the fact that two TRPM8 agonists (menthol and icilin) induced calcium mobilization, whereas agonists of TRPA1 and TRPV1 did not. We demonstrated that phthalate esters do not activate TRPM8. TRPA1-antagonist HC-030031 did not inhibit TRPM8 activation induced by menthol or icilin. These results show that phthalate esters activate TRPA1 and TRPV1 with selectivity. TRPM8 activation is not likely to be involved in the sensitization to FITC.

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