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Chemosensory properties of the trigeminal system.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
ACS Chemical Neuroscience
1948-7193
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
1
Pages
38–50
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/cn100102c
PMID: 22778855
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The capacity of cutaneous, including trigeminal endings, to detect chemicals is known as chemesthesis or cutaneous chemosensation. This sensory function involves the activation of nociceptor and thermoreceptor endings and has a protective or defensive function, as many of these substances are irritants or poisonous. However, humans have also developed a liking for the distinct sharpness or pungency of many foods, beverages, and spices following activation of the same sensory afferents. Our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chemosensation in the trigeminal system has experienced enormous progress in the past decade, following the cloning and functional characterization of several ion channels activated by physical and chemical stimuli. This brief review attempts to summarize our current knowledge in this field, including a functional description of various sensory channels, especially TRP channels, involved in trigeminal chemosensitivy. Finally, some of these new findings are discussed in the context of the pathophysiology of trigeminal chemosensation, including pain, pruritus, migraine, cough, airway inflammation, and ophthalmic diseases.

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