Transient receptor potential A1 mediates acetaldehyde-evoked pain sensation

Sangsu Bang, Kyung Yoon Kim, Sungjae Yoo, Yoon Gyoon Kim, Sun Wook Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Six transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels expressed in the sensory afferents play an important role as body thermosensors and also as peripheral pain detectors. It is known that a number of natural compounds specifically activate those sensory neuronal TRP channels, and a well-known example is cinnamaldehyde for TRPA1. Here we show that human and mouse TRPA1 are activated by acetaldehyde, an intermediate substance of ethanol metabolism, in the HEK293T cell heterologous expression system and in cultured mouse trigeminal neurons. Acetaldehyde failed to activate other temperature-sensitive TRP channels expressed in sensory neurons. TRPA1 antagonists camphor and gadolinium, and a general TRP blocker ruthenium red inhibited TRPA1 activation by acetaldehyde. Camphor, gadolinium and ruthenium red also suppressed the acute nociceptive behaviors induced by the intradermal administration of acetaldehyde into the mouse footpads. Intradermal co-application of prostaglandin E2 and acetaldehyde greatly potentiated the acetaldehyde-induced nociceptive responses, and this effect was reversed by treatment with the TRPA1 antagonist camphor. These results suggest that acetaldehyde causes nociception via TRPA1 activation. Our data may also help elucidate the mechanisms underlying acetaldehyde-related pathological symptoms such as hangover pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2516-2523
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov


  • Acetaldehyde
  • Nociceptive behavior
  • Pain
  • TRPA1
  • Trigeminal neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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