Certain nervous cells (sensory neurons) possess on their surface proteins able to detect and transmit painful stimuli. Andrew Dillin, University of California, Berkeley, USA, and co-workers discovered that one of these molecules, namely TRPV1 or transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1, regulates longevity and metabolism.
The researchers demonstrated that mice lacking TRPV1 have a youthful metabolism and live about 14 % longer than normal mice. Similar results, moreover, were obtained when the scientists treated mice with CGRP78-37, an anti-migraine drug that antagonizes the biochemical events controlled by TRPV1.
Compounds inhibiting TRPV1 activity could, therefore, not only relieve pain but also extend lifespan and improve the metabolism.
- TRPV1 Pain Receptors Regulate Longevity and Metabolism by Neuropeptide Signaling,
Céline E. Riera, Mark O. Huising, Patricia Follett, Mathias Leblanc, Jonathan Halloran, Roger Van Andel, Carlos Daniel de Magalhaes Filho, Carsten Merkwirth, Andrew Dillin,
Cell 2014, 157, 1023–1036.