The effects of capsaicin on voltage-gated calcium currents and calcium signals in cultured dorsal root ganglion cells

D. Bleakman, J. R. Broroson, R. J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


1. The effects of capsaicin on voltage-gated Ca2+ currents (I(Ca)), and intracellular Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+](i)) in cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones of the rat were examined in vitro by use of combined patch clamp-microfluorometric recordings. 2. Under voltage-clamp conditions, capsaicin (0.1-10 μM) caused a concentration-dependent decrease in the magnitude of the I(Ca), an elevation in the holding current (I(h)) and a concomitant rise in the [Ca2+](i) in most cells examined. Repeated application of capsaicin produced marked desensitization. 3. Some decrease in the I(Ca) produced by capsaicin was also observed when the rise in [Ca2+](i) was buffered with EGTA or BAPTA and when Ba2+ was used as the charge carrier; under these conditions the desensitization previously observed was smaller. 4. The decrement in voltage-gated current was smaller in Ba2+ containing solutions than in Ca2+ containing solutions suggesting that the capsaicin-induced influx of Ca2+ partially mediated the observed decrease in the voltagte-gated current. In cells which showed a marked response to capsaicin an outward (positive) current was sometimes observed upon depolarization from -80 to 0 mV. This effect was consistent with an outward movement of cations through the capsaicin conductance pathway which may also account, in part, for the apparent reduction in I(Ca) by capsaicin. 5. The effects of capsaicin under voltage-clamp conditions were prevented by ruthenium red (1 μM). 6. Under current clamp conditions, capsaicin depolarized and caused a rise in [Ca2+](i) in the majority of DRG cells examined. Both of these effects could be prevented by ruthenium red (500 nM). 7. It is concluded that capsaicin reduces the I(Ca) of rat DRG neurones primarily by indirect mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of capsaicin on voltage-gated calcium currents and calcium signals in cultured dorsal root ganglion cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this