Some like it hot: The emerging role of spicy food (capsaicin) in autoimmune diseases

Autoimmun Rev. 2016 May;15(5):451-6. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2016.01.009. Epub 2016 Jan 23.


Autoimmune diseases refer to a spectrum of diseases characterized by an active immune response against the host, which frequently involves increased autoantibody production. The pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is multifactorial and the exploitation of novel effective treatment is urgent. Capsaicin is a nutritional factor, the active component of chili peppers, which is responsible for the pungent component of chili pepper. As a stimuli, capsaicin selectively activate transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1(TRPV1) and exert various biological effects. This review discusses the effect of capsaicin through its receptor on the development and modulation of autoimmune diseases, which may shed light upon potential therapies in capsaicin-targeted approaches.

Keywords: Autoantibodies; Autoimmune diseases; Capsaicin; Diet; Microbiome; Spicy; TRPV1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Capsaicin / immunology*
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases / immunology
  • TRPV Cation Channels / immunology


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Capsaicin