Mustard oils and cannabinoids excite sensory nerve fibres through the TRP channel ANKTM1.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Wasabi, horseradish and mustard owe their pungency to isothiocyanate compounds. Topical application of mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate) to the skin activates underlying sensory nerve endings, thereby producing pain, inflammation and robust hypersensitivity to thermal and mechanical stimuli. Despite their widespread use in both the kitchen and the laboratory, the molecular mechanism through which isothiocyanates mediate their effects remains unknown. Here we show that mustard oil depolarizes a subpopulation of primary sensory neurons that are also activated by capsaicin, the pungent ingredient in chilli peppers, and by Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana. Both allyl isothiocyanate and THC mediate their excitatory effects by activating ANKTM1, a member of the TRP ion channel family recently implicated in the detection of noxious cold. These findings identify a cellular and molecular target for the pungent action of mustard oils and support an emerging role for TRP channels as ionotropic cannabinoid receptors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jordt, S-E; Bautista, DM; Chuang, H-H; McKemy, DD; Zygmunt, PM; Högestätt, ED; Meng, ID; Julius, D

Published Date

  • January 15, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 427 / 6971

Start / End Page

  • 260 - 265

PubMed ID

  • 14712238

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nature02282


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England