The capsaicin receptor TRPV1 as a novel modulator of neural precursor cell proliferation

Stem Cells. 2014 Dec;32(12):3183-95. doi: 10.1002/stem.1805.


The capsaicin receptor (TRPV1, transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1) was first discovered in the peripheral nervous system as a detector of noxious chemical and thermal stimuli including the irritant chili pepper. Recently, there has been increasing evidence of TRPV1 expression in the central nervous system. Here, we show that TRPV1 is expressed in neural precursor cells (NPCs) during postnatal development, but not in the adult. However, expression of TRPV1 is induced in the adult in paradigms linked to an increase in neurogenesis, such as spatial learning in the Morris water maze or voluntary exercise. Loss of TRPV1 expression in knockout mice leads to an increase in NPC proliferation. Functional TRPV1 expression has been confirmed in cultured NPCs. Our results indicate that TRPV1 expression influences both postnatal and activity-induced neurogenesis in adulthood.

Keywords: Cellular proliferation; Endovanilloid/endocannabinoid system; Nervous system; Neural stem cell; Neurogenesis; Progenitor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 receptor
  • Capsaicin