TRP channels: emerging targets for respiratory disease

Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jun;130(3):371-84. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


The mammalian transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily of cation channels is divided into six subfamilies based on sequence homology TRPC (canonical), TRPV (vanilloid), TRPM (melastatin), TRPA (ankyrin), TRPP (polycystin) and TRPML (mucolipin). The expression of these channels is especially abundant in sensory nerves, and there is increasing evidence demonstrating their existence in a broad range of cell types which are thought to play a key role in respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These ion channels can be activated by a diverse range of chemical and physical stimuli. Physical stimuli include temperature, membrane potential changes and osmotic stress, and some of the more well known chemical stimuli include capsaicin (TRPV1), menthol (TRPM8) and acrolein (TRPA1). There is increasing evidence in this rapidly moving field to suggest that selective blockers of these channels may represent attractive novel strategies to treat characteristic features of respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD. This review focuses on summarising the evidence that modulation of selected TRP channels may have beneficial effects at targeting key features of these respiratory diseases including airways inflammation, airways hyper-reactivity, mucus secretion and cough.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / physiology*


  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • Capsaicin