Role of TRP Channels in Pain Sensation

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Abstract

It is crucial for a living organism to recognize and discern potentially harmful noxious stimuli from innocuous stimuli to avoid hazards in the environment. However, unnecessary or exaggerated nociception is at best unpleasant and often compromises the quality of life. In order to lessen the intensity of nociception or eliminate the pathological pain, it is important to understand the nature of nociception and the mechanisms of hyperalgesia or allodynia. Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels play central roles in nociception under physiological and pathological conditions including inflammation and neuropathy. In this chapter, we will highlight the enormous progress in understanding the role of TRP channels in nociception. We will mainly focus on two TRP channels (TRPV1 and TRPA1) that have been particularly implicated in transducing signals associated with pain sensation, and briefly discuss the role of TRPM8, TRPV3 and TRPV4. We will stress debatable issues that needed to be resolved and provide perspectives for the future studies.