Sensory signals eliciting perceptions of pain, warmth and cool are mediated by thin myelinated or unmyelinated primary afferent nerve fibers. In the skin, these nerve fibers appear in light microscopy as free nerve endings. To be able to detect and discriminate sensory stimuli, the cell membrane of the free nerve endings expresses various types of receptors that are specialized for transducing mechanical, thermal and/or chemical stimuli into electrical signals. The transduction of external stimuli to action potentials is required for eliciting sensations resulting from peripheral stimulation, since the sensory signal to the brain is carried by action potentials in the primary afferent nerve fibers. Among the receptors contributing to the transduction process on free nerve endings are those belonging to the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels . TRP channels, when activated by sensory stimuli, allow inflow of cations (Na+ and Ca2+) and thereby they cause depolarization that may induce action potentials. Of the TRP family members expressed on nociceptive primary afferent nerve fibers, the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) are so far the best-known ion channel receptors involved in the transduction of potential tissue-damaging stimuli. TRPV1 is activated
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 2013
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