This review provides a summary of the physiological significance of the TRPV4 ion channel. Although TRPV4 was initially characterized as an osmosensor, we found that TRPV4 can also act as a thermosensor or a mechanosensor in brain neurons or epithelial cells in the urinary bladder. Here, we summarize the newly characterized functions of TRPV4, including the research progress that has been made toward our understanding of TRPV4 physiology, and discuss other recent data pertaining to TRPV4. It is thought that TRPV4 may be an important drug target based on its broad expression patterns and important physiological functions. Possible associations between diseases and TRPV4 are also discussed.
Keywords: Brain temperature; Mechanical stimulus; Mechanosensor; TRPV4; Thermosensor.