News of the WeekNeuroscience

Hot Pepper Receptor Could Help Manage Pain

Science  14 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5464, pp. 241-242
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5464.241a

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Summary

In work described on page 306, neuroscientists genetically altered mice to remove the receptor that responds to some painful stimuli, including heat and capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers. The mice behaved normally in most respects, but showed less sensitivity to high temperatures and drank capsaicin-laced water freely. Their neurons also failed to respond to certain normally noxious stimuli. Those traits could make the receptor a promising target for pain-killing drugs.