Whether it’s a noxious odor or burning sensation, TRP channels are there to let you know something’s up. They’re why we feel sting, burn, itch, etc., etc.
TRPV1 lights up just as much if you bite into a burning hot food as it does a hot pepper. It responds to physical heat and capsaicin.
The infamous wasabi receptor, TRPV1:
TRPA1 in the lungs reduces respiration because it’s activated by poisonous gases… so you end up breathing in less of the poisonous gas. Actually, respiratory TRPA1 activation will make a sleeping mouse wake up and flee!
And yet for some reason, TRPs are anti-cancer in a wide variety of #contexts.
New insights into pharmacological tools to TR(i)P cancer up (Gautier et al., 2014)
If you’re exposed to a TRP activator and escape, cool, if not, you die (jk). Unless it’s a false assassin, in which case that smarty TRP will be downregulated.
I’m happy to have not participated in this study:
Oral irritation by mustard oil: self-desensitization and cross-desensitization with capsaicin (Simons et al., 2003)
Jab a mouse with a large enough dose of capsaicin, early enough in life, and they’re virtually permanently desensitized (Gamse et al., 1980). Under no circumstances should you do this.
TRPA1 is actually upregulated in lung cancer cells (Schaefer et al., 2013). It’s unknown why, but given the chemopreventive nature of TRPs and the ability to modulate them, might a spicy meal or 2 be prudent?
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