The thermo-transient receptor potential (thermoTRP) subfamily is composed of channels that are important in nociception and thermo-sensing. Here, we show a selective expression of TRPV3 channel in the distal colon throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Expression analyses clearly revealed that TRPV3 mRNA and proteins were expressed in the superficial epithelial cells of the distal colon, but not in those of the stomach, duodenum or proximal colon. In a subset of primary epithelial cells cultured from the distal colon, carvacrol, an agonist for TRPV3, elevated cytosolic Ca(2+)concentration in a concentration-dependent manner. This response was inhibited by ruthenium red, a TRPV channel antagonist. Organotypic culture supported that the carvacrol-responsive cells were present in superficial epithelial cells. Moreover, application of carvacrol evoked ATP release in primary colonic epithelial cells. We conclude that TRPV3 is present in absorptive cells in the distal colon and may be involved in a variety of cellular functions.