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Am J Neurodegener Dis 2012;1(1):1-14

Review Article
TRPV1: a stress response protein in the central nervous system

Karen W Ho, Nicholas J Ward, David J Calkins

The Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37205, USA.

Received April 15, 2012; accepted April, 2012; Epub April, 2012; published May 30, 2012

Abstract: The transient receptor potential (TRP) family comprises a diverse group of cation channels that regulate a
variety of intracellular signaling pathways.  The TRPV1 (vanilloid 1) channel is best known for its role in nociception and
sensory transmission.  First studied in the dorsal root ganglia as the receptor for capsaicin, TRPV1 is now recognized
to have a broader distribution and function within the central nervous system (CNS).  Because it can be activated by a
range of potentially noxious stimuli, TRPV1’s polymodal nature and ability to interact with other receptor pathways
makes it a candidate for a stress response protein.  As a result, TRPV1 is emerging as a key mediator of CNS function
through modulation of both glial and neuronal activity.  Growing evidence has suggested that TRPV1 can mediate a
variety of pathways from glial reactivity and cytokine release to synaptic transmission and plasticity.  This review
highlights the increasing importance of TRPV1 as a regulator of CNS function in response to stress. (AJND1104002)

Keywords: TRPV1, neurodegeneration, capsaicin, CNS, TRP channel, Huntington’s Disease, neuron, glia, plasticity,
synaptic transmission

Address all correspondence to:
Dr. David J Calkins
The Vanderbilt Eye Institute
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN 37205, USA.
E-mail: david.j.calkins@vanderbilt.edu