Vanilloid receptor-1 (TRPV1) is a non-selective cation channel, predominantly expressed by peripheral sensory neurones, which is known to play a key role in the detection of noxious painful stimuli, such as capsaicin, acid and heat. To date, a number of antagonists have been used to study the physiological role of TRPV1; however, antagonists such as capsazepine are somewhat compromised by non-selective actions at other receptors and apparent modality-specific properties. SB-366791 is a novel, potent, and selective, cinnamide TRPV1 antagonist isolated via high-throughput screening of a large chemical library. In a FLIPR-based Ca(2+)-assay, SB-366791 produced a concentration-dependent inhibition of the response to capsaicin with an apparent pK(b) of 7.74 +/- 0.08. Schild analysis indicated a competitive mechanism of action with a pA2 of 7.71. In electrophysiological experiments, SB-366791 was demonstrated to be an effective antagonist of hTRPV1 when activated by different modalities, such as capsaicin, acid or noxious heat (50 degrees C). Unlike capsazepine, SB-366791 was also an effective antagonist vs. the acid-mediated activation of rTRPV1. With the aim of defining a useful tool compound, we also profiled SB-366791 in a wide range of selectivity assays. SB-366791 had a good selectivity profile exhibiting little or no effect in a panel of 47 binding assays (containing a wide range of G-protein-coupled receptors and ion channels) and a number of electrophysiological assays including hippocampal synaptic transmission and action potential firing of locus coeruleus or dorsal raphe neurones. Furthermore, unlike capsazepine, SB-366791 had no effect on either the hyperpolarisation-activated current (I(h)) or Voltage-gated Ca(2+)-channels (VGCC) in cultured rodent sensory neurones. In summary, SB-366791 is a new TRPV1 antagonist with high potency and an improved selectivity profile with respect to other commonly used TRPV1 antagonists. SB-366791 may therefore prove to be a useful tool to further study the biology of TRPV1.