PubMed 24743513

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: TRP , TRPV , TRPV1

Title: Attenuation of natural killer cell functions by capsaicin through a direct and TRPV1-independent mechanism.

Authors: Hun Sik Kim, Hyung-Joon Kwon, Gye Eun Kim, Mi-Hyang Cho, Seung-Yong Yoon, Alexander J Davies, Seog Bae Oh, Heuiran Lee, Young Keol Cho, Chul Hyun Joo, Seog Woon Kwon, Sun Chang Kim, Yoo Kyum Kim

Journal, date & volume: Carcinogenesis, 2014 Jul , 35, 1652-60

PubMed link:

The assessment of the biological activity of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the spicy flavor of chili pepper, produced controversial results, showing either carcinogenicity or cancer prevention. The innate immune system plays a pivotal role in cancer pathology and prevention; yet, the effect of capsaicin on natural killer (NK) cells, which function in cancer surveillance, is unclear. This study found that capsaicin inhibited NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cytokine production (interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α). Capsaicin impaired the cytotoxicity of NK cells, thereby inhibiting lysis of standard target cells and gastric cancer cells by modulating calcium mobilization in NK cells. Capsaicin also induced apoptosis in gastric cancer cells, but that effect required higher concentrations and longer exposure times than those required to trigger NK cell dysfunction. Furthermore, capsaicin inhibited the cytotoxicity of isolated NK cells and of an NK cell line, suggesting a direct effect on NK cells. Antagonists of transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily member 1 (TRPV1), a cognate capsaicin receptor, or deficiency in TRPV1 expression failed to prevent the defects induced by capsaicin in NK cells expressing functional TRPV1. Thus, the mechanism of action of capsaicin on NK cells is largely independent of TRPV1. Taken together, capsaicin may have chemotherapeutic potential but may impair NK cell function, which plays a central role in tumor surveillance.