A receptor in the throat responds to two very different compounds in a similar way: it makes you cough. One of the compounds is the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, the second is oleocanthal, a polyphenolic found in olive oil that also has anti-inflammatory activity.
US researchers explain that activation of the TRPA1 receptor could explain the throat sting and cough often experienced by lovers of olive oil. More importantly, they believe that the protective cough mechanism prevents toxins entering the lungs.
The receptor might be used to screen novel anti-inflammatories for activity.
- Unusual Pungency from Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Is Attributable to Restricted Spatial Expression of the Receptor of Oleocanthal
C. Peyrot des Gachons, K. Uchida, B. Bryant, A. Shima, J. B. Sperry et al.,
J. Neurosci. 2011, 31, 999-1009.