Author(s): Lynn B
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Abstract Recent work on the excitatory action of capsaicin on somatic and visceral afferent neurones shows that depolarization is selective for C-fibre polymodal nociceptor afferents and involves opening a non-selective cation channel. Exposure to significantly suprathreshold amounts of capsaicin causes permanent degeneration of C-fibre afferents in adult rats. Functional changes in rats (hypalgesia, diminished neurogenic inflammation) are likely to be a direct consequence of the loss of C-fibre nociceptors, and so are the reductions in neuropeptide levels that follow adult capsaicin treatment. Clinical trials of topical capsaicin treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia have yielded promising results. The selective nature of the action of capsaicin in reducing just C-nociceptor activity may make it particularly useful for treating pain states triggered by C-fibre input.
This article was published in Pain
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology