The Dynamic TRPA1 Channel: A Suitable Pharmacological Pain Target?
Sheldon R. Garrison and Cheryl L. Stucky
Affiliation: Medical College of Wisconsin, Dept. of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
Keywords: Mechanotransduction, keratinocyte, cold, inflammation, diabetes, neuropathy, TRPV1, nociceptor, Acute pain detection, electrical impulses, TRP ankyrin 1, modality-specific signals, fibromyalgia, bronchitis, emphysema
Acute pain detection is vital to navigate and survive in ones environment. Protection and preservation occur because primary afferent nociceptors transduce adverse environmental stimuli into electrical impulses that are transmitted to and interpreted within high levels of the central nervous system. Therefore, it is critical that the molecular mechanisms that convert noxious information into neural signals be identified, and their specific functional roles delineated in both acute and chronic pain settings. The Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel family member TRP ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) is an excellent candidate molecule to explore and intricately understand how single channel properties can tailor behavioral nociceptive responses. TRPA1 appears to dynamically respond to an amazingly wide range of diverse stimuli that include apparently unrelated modalities such as mechanical, chemical and thermal stimuli that activate somatosensory neurons. How such dissimilar stimuli activate TRPA1, yet result in modality-specific signals to the CNS is unclear. Furthermore, TRPA1 is also involved in persistent to chronic painful states such as inflammation, neuropathic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia, bronchitis and emphysema. Yet how TRPA1s role changes from an acute sensor of physical stimuli to its contribution to these diseases that are concomitant with implacable, chronic pain is unknown. TRPA1s involvement in the nociceptive machinery that relays the adverse stimuli during painful disease states is of considerable interest for drug delivery and design by many pharmaceutical entities. In this review, we will assess the current knowledge base of TRPA1 in acute nociception and persistent inflammatory pain states, and explore its potential as a therapeutic pharmacological target in chronic pervasive conditions such neuropathic pain, persistent inflammation and diabetes.
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