The transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily of ion channels are a large and diverse group that have received increased attention in recent years. The sub-family of thermo-TRPs which are regulated by temperature, among other physical and chemical stimuli, are of particular interest for the development of potential pain therapeutics.
We review the advances in the field in recent years, focusing on a rationale for pain therapy and potential challenges associated with these targets.
Vanilloid-type TRP 1 (TRPV1) is the most well studied and advanced member of the family, with selective agonists and antagonists already in clinical use or development, respectively. Among other thermo-TRPs (including TRPV2 - 4, Ankyrin type TRP 1 (TRPA1) and melastatin type TRP 8 (TRPM8)), TRPA1 and TRPM8 are emerging as promising novel pain targets.