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Advances in modulating thermosensory TRP channels.

Antonio Ferrer-Montiel, Asia Fernández-Carvajal, Rosa Planells-Cases, Gregorio Fernández-Ballester, José Manuel González-Ros, Angel Messeguer, Rosario González-Muñiz

Expert Opin Ther Pat, 2012 Sep , 22, 999-1017

INTRODUCTION: Thermosensory channels are a subfamily of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family that are activated by changes in the environmental temperature. These channels, known as thermoTRPs, cover the entire spectrum of temperatures, from noxious cold (< 15°C) to injurious heat (> 42°C). In addition, dysfunction of these channels contributes to the thermal hypersensitivity that accompanies painful conditions. Moreover, because of their wide tissue and cellular distribution, thermoTRPs are also involved in the pathophysiology of several diseases, from inflammation to cancer. AREAS COVERED: Although the number of thermoTRPs is increasing with the identification of novel members such as TRPM3, we will cover the recent advances in the pharmacology of the classical thermosensory channels, namely TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3, TRPV4, TRPM8 and TRPA1. This review will focus on the therapeutic progress carried out for all these channels and will highlight the tenet that TRPV1, TRPM8 and TRPA1 are the most exploited channels, and that the interest on TRPV3 and TRPV4 is growing with the first TRPV3 antagonist that moves into Phase-II clinical trials. In contrast, the pharmacology of TRPV2 is yet in its infancy. EXPERT OPINION: Despite the tremendous academic and industrial investment to develop therapeutic modulators of thermoTRPs, it apparently seems that we are still far from the first successful product, although hope is maintained high for all compounds currently in clinical trials. A major concern has been the appearance of side effects. A better knowledge of the thermosensory protein networks (signal-plexes), along with the application of system biology approaches may provide novel strategies to modulate thermoTRPs activity with improved therapeutic index. A case in point is TRPV1, where acting on interacting proteins is providing new therapeutic opportunities.