Increasing evidence indicates that endothelin-1 has a role for peripheral nociceptive signaling in animals and humans. However, the mechanisms of the nociceptive effects of endothelin-1 have not been fully understood. The current study investigated the effects of endothelin-1 on the capsaicin-evoked intracellular Ca2+ response of cultured adult mice dorsal root ganglion neurons. Dorsal root ganglia were harvested from adult male C57B6N mice and were cultured. With a digital image analysis system, we detected the [Ca2+]i image of cultured dorsal root ganglion cells after loading with Fura-2 acetoxymethyl. In addition, co-localization of protein kinase Cepsilon with transient receptor potential V1 and the translocation of protein kinase Cepsilon were investigated using immunohistochemical methods. Endothelin-1 (10 nM) enhanced an increase in [Ca2+]i by capsaicin (10 nM) from 87.6+/-11.6 nM to 414.8+/-62.3 nM (71 of 156 neurons). The inhibition of endothelin A receptor (BQ-123) significantly suppressed the enhancing effect of endothelin-1. In addition, a nonselective protein kinase C inhibitor (bisindolylmaleimide I) significantly suppressed the enhancing effect of endothelin-1. A myristoyl-tagged membrane-permeant-protein kinase Cepsilon V1-2 inhibitory peptide also significantly suppressed the enhancing effect of endothelin-1. In the immunocytochemical study, protein kinase Cepsilon immunoreactivity was found in most of transient receptor potential V1-positive neurons. After endothelin-1 application, protein kinase Cepsilon immunoreactivity was observed to be translocated from the cytosol to the cell membrane in transient receptor potential V1-positive neurons. Our results indicate that endothelin-1 enhances the response of dorsal root ganglion neurons to capsaicin in a protein kinase Cepsilon-dependent manner. Our findings may lead to a new strategy to treat pain associated with endothelin-1.