Ruthenium red as a capsaicin antagonist

Life Sci. 1991;49(12):849-56. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(91)90169-c.


Definition of the physiological and pharmacological properties of primary afferent neurons by the use of capsaicin and its analogues (e.g. resiniferatoxin) has represented one of the most active areas of research of the last decade (1-4 for reviews). In the past 3 years many important advancements have been made in this field, dealing with: a) discovery of the capsaicin (or 'vanilloid' receptor (5); b) discovery of capsazepine as a competitive receptor antagonist at the vanilloid receptor (6); c) definition of the cation channel coupled with the vanilloid receptor and the ionic basis for excitation and "desensitization" of primary afferents by capsaicin and related substances (7,8) and d) discovery of ruthenium red as a functional capsaicin antagonist. The aim of the present article is to briefly review the pharmacology of ruthenium red as a capsaicin antagonist and attempting to define the usefulness and the limits of this substance as a tool in sensory neuron research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Neurons, Afferent / drug effects
  • Ruthenium Red / pharmacology*


  • Ruthenium Red
  • Capsaicin