The discovery of novel analgesic drug targets is an active research topic owing to insufficient treatment options for persisting pain. Modulators of temperature-sensing transient receptor potential ion channels (thermoTRPs), in particular TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPM8 and TRPA1, have reached clinical development. This requires access for TRP channels and the effects of specific modulators in humans. This is currently possible via (i) the study of TRP channel function in human-derived cell lines, (ii) immunohistochemical visualization of TRP channel expression in human tissues, (iii) human experimental pain models employing sensitization by means of topical application of TRP channel activators including capsaicin (TRPV1), menthol (TRPM8), mustard oil and cinnamaldehyde (TRPA1), and (iv) the study of phenotypic consequences of human TRP gene variants.
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