TRPV1 channel in the pathophysiology of epilepsy and its potential as a molecular target for the development of new antiseizure drug candidates

Prog Neurobiol. 2024 Jun 2:240:102634. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2024.102634. Online ahead of print.


Identification of transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), also known as capsaicin receptor, in 1997 was a milestone achievement in the research on temperature sensation and pain signalling. Very soon after it became evident that TRPV1 is implicated in a wide array of physiological processes in different peripheral tissues, as well as in the central nervous system, and thereby could be involved in the pathophysiology of numerous diseases. Increasing evidence suggests that modulation of TRPV1 may also affect seizure susceptibility and epilepsy. This channel is localized in brain regions associated with seizures and epilepsy, and its overexpression was found both in animal models of seizures and in brain samples from epileptic patients. Moreover, modulation of TRPV1 on non-neuronal cells (microglia, astrocytes, and/or peripheral immune cells) may have an impact on the neuroinflammatory processes that play a role in epilepsy and epileptogenesis. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive and critical overview of currently available data on TRPV1 as a possible molecular target for epilepsy management, trying to identify research gaps and future directions. Overall, several converging lines of evidence implicate TRPV1 channel as a potentially attractive target in epilepsy research but more studies are needed to exploit the possible role of TRPV1 in seizures/epilepsy and to evaluate the value of TRPV1 ligands as candidates for new antiseizure drugs.

Keywords: Antiepileptic drugs; Cannabidiol; Drug development; Endocannabinoid system; TRP channels; Vanilloid receptors.

Publication types

  • Review