TRPA1: a transducer and amplifier of pain and inflammation

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2014 Jan;114(1):50-5. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.12138. Epub 2013 Oct 7.


The transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) ion channel on peripheral terminals of nociceptive primary afferent nerve fibres contributes to the transduction of noxious stimuli to electrical signals, while on central endings in the spinal dorsal horn, it amplifies transmission to spinal interneurons and projection neurons. The centrally propagating nociceptive signal that is induced and amplified by TRPA1 not only elicits pain sensation but also contributes to peripheral neurogenic inflammation through a peripheral axon reflex or a centrally mediated back propagating dorsal root reflex that releases vasoactive agents from sensory neurons in the periphery. Endogenous TRPA1 agonists that are generated under various pathophysiological conditions both in the periphery and in the spinal cord have TRPA1-mediated pro-nociceptive and pro-inflammatory effects. Among endogenous TRPA1 agonists that have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of pain and inflammatory conditions are, for example, methylglyoxal, 4-hydroxynonenal, 12-lipoxygenase-derived hepoxilin A3, 5,6-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid and reactive oxygen species, while mustard oil and cinnamaldehyde are most commonly used exogenous TRPA1 agonists in experimental studies. Among selective TRPA1 antagonists are HC-030031, A-967079, AP-14 and Chembridge-5861528. Recent evidence indicates that TRPA1 plays a role also in transition of acute to chronic pain. Due to its location on a subpopulation of pain-mediating primary afferent nerve fibres, blocking the TRPA1 channel is expected to have antinociceptive, antiallodynic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetanilides / pharmacology
  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives
  • Acrolein / pharmacology
  • Aldehydes / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Ankyrins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ankyrins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mustard Plant
  • Oximes / pharmacology
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Pain / pathology
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Purines / pharmacology
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism*


  • 2-(1,3-dimethyl-2,6-dioxo-1,2,3,6-tetrahydro-7H-purin-7-yl)-N-(4-isopropylphenyl)acetamide
  • A 967079
  • Acetanilides
  • Aldehydes
  • Ankyrins
  • Oximes
  • Plant Oils
  • Purines
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • Acrolein
  • 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal
  • cinnamaldehyde
  • mustard oil