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Cells. 2014 Sep 12;3(3):914-38. doi: 10.3390/cells3030914.

TRPV1 and Endocannabinoids: Emerging Molecular Signals that Modulate Mammalian Vision.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Moran Eye Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. daniel.ryskamp@gmail.com.
2
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Moran Eye Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. sarah.redmon@utah.edu.
3
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Moran Eye Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. u0751604@utah.edu.
4
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Moran Eye Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. david.krizaj@hsc.utah.edu.

Abstract

Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) subunits form a polymodal cation channel responsive to capsaicin, heat, acidity and endogenous metabolites of polyunsaturated fatty acids. While originally reported to serve as a pain and heat detector in the peripheral nervous system, TRPV1 has been implicated in the modulation of blood flow and osmoregulation but also neurotransmission, postsynaptic neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity within the central nervous system. In addition to its central role in nociception, evidence is accumulating that TRPV1 contributes to stimulus transduction and/or processing in other sensory modalities, including thermosensation, mechanotransduction and vision. For example, TRPV1, in conjunction with intrinsic cannabinoid signaling, might contribute to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axonal transport and excitability, cytokine release from microglial cells and regulation of retinal vasculature. While excessive TRPV1 activity was proposed to induce RGC excitotoxicity, physiological TRPV1 activity might serve a neuroprotective function within the complex context of retinal endocannabinoid signaling. In this review we evaluate the current evidence for localization and function of TRPV1 channels within the mammalian retina and explore the potential interaction of this intriguing nociceptor with endogenous agonists and modulators.

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