Capsaicin potentiates wild-type and mutant cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator chloride-channel currents

Tomohiko Ai, Silvia G. Bompadre, Xiaohui Wang, Shenghui Hu, Min Li, Tzyh Chang Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


To examine the effects of capsaicin on cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), we recorded wild-type and mutant CFTR chloride-channel currents using patch-clamp methods. The effects of capsaicin were compared with those of genistein, a well-characterized CFTR activator. In whole-cell experiments, capsaicin potentiates cAMP-stimulated wild-type CFTR currents expressed in NIH 3T3 cells or Chinese hamster ovary cells in a dose-dependent manner with a maximal response ∼60% of that with genistein and an apparent Kd of 48.4 ± 6.8 μM. In cell-attached recordings, capsaicin alone fails to activate CFTR in cells that show negligible basal CFTR activity, indicating that capsaicin does not stimulate the cAMP cascade. The magnitude of potentiation with capsaicin depends on the channel activity before drug application; the lower the prestimulated P o, the higher the potentiation. Single-channel kinetic analysis shows that capsaicin potentiates CFTR by increasing the opening rate and decreasing the closing rate of the channel. Capsaicin may act as a partial agonist of genistein because the maximally enhanced wild-type CFTR currents with genistein are partially inhibited by capsaicin. Capsaicin increases ΔR-CFTR, a protein kinase A (PKA)-independent, constitutively active channel, in cell-attached patches. In excised inside-out patches, capsaicin potentiates the PKA-phosphorylated, ATP-dependent CFTR activity. Both capsaicin and genistein potentiate the cAMP-stimulated G551D-CFTR, ΔF508-CFTR, and 8SA mutant channel currents. The binding site for capsaicin is probably located at the cytoplasmic domain of CFTR, because pipette application of capsaicin fails to potentiate CFTR activity. In conclusion, capsaicin is a partial agonist of genistein in activation of the CFTR chloride channel. Both compounds affect ATP-dependent gating of CFTR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1415-1426
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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