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TRPV1 (vanilloid receptor) in the urinary tract: expression, function and clinical applications

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Abstract

The transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1 (TRPV1) is an ion channel activated by capsaicin, heat, protons and endogenous ligands such as anandamide. It is largely expressed in the urinary tract of mammals. Structures in which the receptor expression is firmly established include sensory fibers and urothelial cells, although the presence of TRPV1 in other cell types has been reported. As in other systems, pain perception was the first role attributed to TRPV1 in the urinary tract. However, it is now increasingly clear that TRPV1 also regulates the frequency of bladder reflex contractions, either through direct excitation of sensory fibers or through urothelial-sensory fiber cross talk involving the release of neuromediators from the epithelial cells. In addition, the recent identification of the receptor in urothelial and prostatic cancer cells raise the exciting hypothesis that TRPV1 is involved in cell differentiation. Desensitization of the receptor by capsaicin and resiniferatoxin has been investigated for therapeutic purposes. For the moment, lower urinary tract dysfunctions in which some benefit was obtained include painful bladder syndrome and overactive bladder of neurogenic and non-neurogenic origin. However, desensitization may become obsolete when non-toxic, potent TRPV1 antagonists become available.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to help Drs. Ana Charrua and Istvan Nagy for their scientific contributions and Dr. Célia Cruz for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was funded by FCT project POCTI/SAU-NEU/55983/2004.

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Avelino, A., Cruz, F. TRPV1 (vanilloid receptor) in the urinary tract: expression, function and clinical applications. Naunyn-Schmied Arch Pharmacol 373, 287–299 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00210-006-0073-2

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