TRPV4 is a non-selective cation channel subunit expressed in a wide variety of tissues. TRP channels are formed by a tetrameric complex of channel subunits. The available evidence suggests that TRPV4 cannot form heteromultimers with other TRPV isoforms, and that TRPV4-containing channels are homotetramers. These channels have a characteristic outwardly rectifying current-voltage relation, and are 5–10 times more permeable for Ca2+ than for Na+. TRPV4 can be activated by a wide range of stimuli including physical (cell swelling, heat, mechanical stimulation) and chemical stimuli (endocannabinoids, arachidonic acid, and, surprisingly, 4α-phorbol esters). Activation by swelling and endocannabinoids involves cytochrome P450 epoxygenase-dependent arachidonic acid metabolism to the epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs). Heat and 4α-phorbol esters also seem to share a common mechanism of activation, but the endogenous messenger involved in the response to heat has not yet been identified. Ca2+ acting from the intracellular side can have both potentiating and inhibitory effects on channel activity and is involved in channel activation and inactivation. Given its wide expression and the variety of activatory stimuli, TRPV4 is likely to play a number of physiological roles. Studies with TRPV4 -/- mice suggest a role for the channel in the regulation of body osmolarity, mechanosensation, temperature sensing, vascular regulation and, possibly, hearing.


TRP channel TRPV channel TRPV4 Non-selective cation channel Calcium entry Messenger-gated Mechanosensation Thermosensation Osmoregulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. D. Plant
    • 1
  • R. Strotmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmakologie u. Toxikologie, FB-MedizinPhilipps-Universität MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biochemie, Abteilung Molekulare Biochemie, Medizinische FakultätUniversität LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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