Experimental evidence for alleviating nociceptive hypersensitivity by single application of capsaicin

Mol Pain. 2015 Apr 22;11:22. doi: 10.1186/s12990-015-0019-0.


The single application of high-concentration of capsaicin has been used as an analgesic therapy of persistent pain. However, its effectiveness and underlying mechanisms remain to be further evaluated with experimental approaches. The present study provided evidence showing that the single application of capsaicin dose-dependently alleviated nociceptive hypersensitivity, and reduced the action potential firing in small-diameter neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in rats and mice. Pre-treatment with capsaicin reduced formalin-induced acute nocifensive behavior after a brief hyperalgesia in rats and mice. The inhibitory effects of capsaicin were calcium-dependent, and mediated by the capsaicin receptor (transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1). We further found that capsaicin exerted inhibitory effects on the persistent nociceptive hypersensitivity induced by peripheral inflammation and nerve injury. Thus, these results support the long-lasting and inhibitory effects of topical capsaicin on persistent pain, and the clinic use of capsaicin as a pain therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antipruritics / administration & dosage
  • Antipruritics / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects*
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Pain / drug therapy*


  • Antipruritics
  • Capsaicin
  • Calcium