Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are important mediators of sensory signals with marked effects on cellular functions and signalling pathways. Indeed, mutations in genes encoding TRP channels are the cause of several inherited diseases in humans (the so-called ‘TRP channelopathies’) that affect the cardiovascular, renal, skeletal and nervous systems. TRP channels are also promising targets for drug discovery. The initial focus of research was on TRP channels that are expressed on nociceptive neurons. Indeed, a number of potent, small-molecule TRPV1, TRPV3 and TRPA1 antagonists have already entered clinical trials as novel analgesic agents. There has been a recent upsurge in the amount of work that expands TRP channel drug discovery efforts into new disease areas such as asthma, cancer, anxiety, cardiac hypertrophy, as well as obesity and metabolic disorders. A better understanding of TRP channel functions in health and disease should lead to the discovery of first-in-class drugs for these intractable diseases. With this review, we hope to capture the current state of this rapidly expanding and changing field.
This article is part of a themed section on the pharmacology of TRP channels. To view the other articles in this section visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2014.171.issue-10
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