Targeting TRP channels for pain relief

Department of Pathology, Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ 07740. Electronic address: .
European journal of pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.53). 03/2013; 2999.
Source: PubMed


Preclinical research has recently uncovered new molecular mechanisms underlying the generation and transduction of pain, many of which represent opportunities for pharmacological intervention. Manipulating temperature-sensitive Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels (so-called "thermoTRPs") on nociceptive neurons is a particularly attractive strategy in that it targets the beginning of the pain pathway. In the focus of current drug development efforts are the heat-sensitive TRPV1, warm-activated TRPV3, cold-responsive TRPA1, and cool-activated TRPM8 channels. TRPV1 desensitization by topical agonists (e.g. high concentration capsaicin creams and patches) has been in clinical use for decades to alleviate chronic painful conditions like diabetic neuropathy. Currently, site-specific resiniferatoxin (an ultrapotent capsaicin analogue) injections are being evaluated as "molecular scalpels" to achieve permanent analgesia in cancer patients with chronic, intractable pain. In the past few years a number of potent, small molecule TRPV1, TRPV3 and TRPA1 antagonists have been advanced into clinical trials for the treatment of inflammatory, neuropathic and visceral pain. TRPM8 antagonists are following closely behind for cold allodynia. Early TRPV1 antagonists in the clinic, however, showed worrisome adverse effects including hyperthermia and impaired noxious heat sensation. These adverse effects placed the patients at risk for scalding injury and prompted their withdrawal from the clinical trials. Second generation TRPV1 antagonists that do not cause core body temperature elevation have been reported, although the therapeutic utility of this class of compounds is not yet known. This review discusses the promise and challenges of developing TRP channel antagonists as a new generation of pain therapeutics.

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    • "The role of neuronal TRPA1 in mediating visceral pain is well established [7], [8], [49], [55]–[58]. TRPA1 antagonists have reached clinical trials for the treatment of inflammatory, neuropathic and visceral pain [59]. Contribution of TRPA1 to the pathogenesis of IBD, however, remains unclear with literature data indicating pro- and antiinflammatory effects or no influence [39], [48], [49]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channels are localized on sensory nerves and several non-neural cells, but data on their functional significance are contradictory. We analysed the presence and alterations of TRPA1 in comparison with TRP Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) at mRNA and protein levels in human and mouse intact and inflamed colons. The role of TRPA1 in a colitis model was investigated using gene-deficient mice. TRPA1 and TRPV1 expressions were investigated in human colon biopsies of healthy subjects and patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD: ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease) with quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry. Mouse colitis was induced by oral 2% dextran-sulphate (DSS) for 10 days. For investigating the functions of TRPA1, Disease Activity Index (weight loss, stool consistency, blood content) was determined in C57BL/6-based Trpa1-deficient (knockout: KO) and wildtype (WT) mice. Sensory neuropeptides, their receptors, and inflammatory cytokines/chemokines were determined with qPCR or Luminex. In human and mouse colons TRPA1 and TRPV1 are located on epithelial cells, macrophages, enteric ganglia. Significant upregulation of TRPA1 mRNA was detected in inflamed samples. In Trpa1 KO mice, Disease Activity Index was significantly higher compared to WTs. It could be explained by the greater levels of substance P, neurokinins A and B, neurokinin 1 receptor, pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating polypeptide, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, and also interleukin-1beta, macrophage chemoattractant protein-1, monokine induced by gamma interferon-1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and B-lymphocyte chemoattractant in the distal colon. TRPA1 is upregulated in colitis and its activation exerts protective roles by decreasing the expressions of several proinflammatory neuropeptides, cytokines and chemokines.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The transient receptor potential (TRP) gene superfamily consists of a large set of tetrameric channels permeable to monovalent and/or divalent cations. In mammals, several of the 28 TRP channel family members are expressed in subpopulations of peripheral sensory neurons and are involved in the transduction of thermal, mechanical and chemical stimuli, with documented roles in normal and pathological nociception [1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Prolonged intracellular calcium elevation contributes to sensitization of nociceptors and chronic pain in inflammatory conditions. The underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown but store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) components participate in calcium homeostasis, potentially playing a significant role in chronic pain pathologies. Most G protein-coupled receptors activated by inflammatory mediators trigger calcium-dependent signaling pathways and stimulate SOCE in primary afferents. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of TRPC3, a calcium-permeable non-selective cation channel coupled to phospholipase C and highly expressed in DRG, as a link between activation of pro-inflammatory metabotropic receptors and SOCE in nociceptive pathways. Results Using in situ hybridization, we determined that TRPC3 and TRPC1 constitute the major TRPC subunits expressed in adult rat DRG. TRPC3 was found localized exclusively in small and medium diameter sensory neurons. Heterologous overexpression of TRPC3 channel subunits in cultured primary DRG neurons evoked a significant increase of Gd3+-sensitive SOCE following thapsigargin-induced calcium store depletion. Conversely, using the same calcium add-back protocol, knockdown of endogenous TRPC3 with shRNA-mediated interference or pharmacological inhibition with the selective TRPC3 antagonist Pyr10 induced a substantial decrease of SOCE, indicating a significant role of TRPC3 in SOCE in DRG nociceptors. Activation of P2Y2 purinoceptors or PAR2 protease receptors triggered a strong increase in intracellular calcium in conditions of TRPC3 overexpression. Additionally, knockdown of native TRPC3 or its selective pharmacological blockade suppressed UTP- or PAR2 agonist-evoked calcium responses as well as sensitization of DRG neurons. These data show a robust link between activation of pro-inflammatory receptors and calcium homeostasis through TRPC3-containing channels operating both in receptor- and store-operated mode. Conclusions Our findings highlight a major contribution of TRPC3 to neuronal calcium homeostasis in somatosensory pathways based on the unique ability of these cation channels to engage in both SOCE and receptor-operated calcium influx. This is the first evidence for TRPC3 as a SOCE component in DRG neurons. The flexible role of TRPC3 in calcium signaling as well as its functional coupling to pro-inflammatory metabotropic receptors involved in peripheral sensitization makes it a potential target for therapeutic strategies in chronic pain conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Molecular Pain
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    • "However, clinical trials in humans have not yet been performed because the first generations of TRPV1 antagonists caused hyperthermia and impaired noxious heat sensation, which have hampered their further development. A comprehensive review on pharmacology and clinical trials with TRPV1 antagonists can be found in Brederson et al. (2013). In conclusion, promising results in treatment of NDO were obtained with intravesical capsaicin and RTX. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTd) represents a major healthcare problem. Although it is mostly not lethal, associated social disturbance, medical costs, loss of productivity and especially diminished quality of life should not be underestimated. Although more than 15% of people suffer from a form of LUTd to some extent, pathophysiology often remains obscure. In the past 20 years, transient receptor potential (TRP) channels have become increasingly important in this field of research. These intriguing ion channels are believed to be the main molecular sensors that generate bladder sensation. Therefore, they are intensely pursued as new drug targets for both curative and symptomatic treatment of different forms of LUTd. TRPV1 was the first of its class to be investigated. Actually, even before this channel was cloned, it had already been targeted in the bladder, with clinical trials of intravesical capsaicin instillations. Several other polymodally gated TRP channels, particularly TRPM8, TRPA1 and TRPV4, also appear to play a prominent role in bladder (patho)physiology. With this review, we provide a brief overview of current knowledge on the role of these TRP channels in LUTd and their potential as molecular targets for treatment.Linked ArticlesThis article is part of a themed section on the pharmacology of TRP channels. To view the other articles in this section visit
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · British Journal of Pharmacology
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