Vanilloid receptor subtype 1, VR1, is an ion channel that serves as a polymodal detector of pain-producing chemicals such as capsaicin and protons in primary afferent neurons. Here we showed that both capsaicin and acidification produced elevations in the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) in cultured human epidermal keratinocytes. The capsaicin- and acidification-evoked increases in [Ca(2+)](i) were inhibited by capsazepine, an antagonist to VR1. VR1-like immunoreactivity was observed in the cells. These findings suggest that functional VR1-like protein is present and functions as a sensor against noxious chemical stimuli, such as capsaicin or acidification, in epidermal keratinocytes.
©2002 Elsevier Science (USA).