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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2014 May;34(4):565-76. doi: 10.1007/s10571-014-0041-1. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Inhibitory effects of capsaicin on voltage-gated potassium channels by TRPV1-independent pathway.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430030, China.


Previously we observed that capsaicin, a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptor activator, inhibited transient potassium current (IA) in capsaicin-sensitive and capsaicin-insensitive trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons from rats. It suggested that the inhibitory effects of capsaicin on IA have two different mechanisms: TRPV1-dependent and TRPV1-independent pathways. The main purpose of this study is to further investigate the TRPV1-independent effects of capsaicin on voltage-gated potassium channels (VGPCs). Whole cell patch-clamp technique was used to record IA and sustained potassium current (IK) in cultured TG neurons from trpv1 knockout (TRPV1(-/-)) mice. We found that capsaicin reversibly inhibited IA and IK in a dose-dependent manner. Capsaicin (30 μM) did not alter the activation curve of IA and IK but shifted the inactivation-voltage curve to hyperpolarizing direction, thereby increasing the number of inactivated VGPCs at the resting potential. Administrations of high concentrations capsaicin, no use-dependent block, and delay of recovery time course were found on IK and IA. Moreover, forskolin, an adenylate cyclase agonist, selectively decreased the inhibitory effects of IK by capsaicin, whereas none influenced the inhibitions of IA. These results suggest that capsaicin inhibits the VGPCs through TRPV1-independent and PKA-dependent mechanisms, which may contribute to the capsaicin-induced nociception.

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