TRP family proteins in the lower urinary tract: Translating basic science into new clinical prospective

Massimo Lazzeri, Elisabetta Costantini, Massimo Porena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The lower urinary tract (LUT) is densely innervated by capsaicin-sensitive primary afferent neurons, a sub set of sensory nerves, in a number of species including humans. These fibers exhibit both a sensory (afferent) function, including the regulation of the micturition reflex and the perception of pain, and an ‘efferent’ function, involved in the detrusor smooth muscle contractility and plasma protein extravasation. The discovery of specific binding sites for capsaicin, the pungent ingredient of red chilli, initiated a rush that ended up with the cloning of the ‘vanilloid receptor’, which belongs to the TRP (transient receptor potential) family. Here we reviewed the knowledge about the presumable functions of TRP family proteins in the LUT as regulators of bladder reflex activity, pain perception and cell differentiation. This review will focus on experimental evidence and promising clinical applications of targeting these proteins for the treatment of detrusor overactivity and bladder pain syndrome. As TRP receptor ligands may promote cellular death, and inhibit the growth of normal and neoplastic cells, the translation of basic science evidence into new clinical prospective for bladder and prostate cancer will be shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Urology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • bladder cancer
  • capsaicin
  • detrusor overactivity
  • lower urinary tract
  • prostate cancer
  • sensory nerves
  • TRP family
  • TRPV1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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