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Keywords:

  • natural products;
  • (–)-carvone;
  • DRG neurons;
  • calcium imaging;
  • TRPV1 channels

Abstract

(–)-Carvone is an antinociceptive monoterpene found as the main active constituent of essential oils obtained from plants of the genus Mentha. Here, we have investigated the pharmacology of this monoterpene in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons and TRPV1-expressing HEK293 cells. (–)-carvone at pharmacological active concentrations did not reveal significant cytotoxicity to the cells used in this study, as investigated by neutral red and propidium iodide flow cytometry assays. In calcium imaging experiments 1 mM (–)-carvone increased the cytosolic calcium levels in DRG neurons from 120.6 ± 5.0 nM (basal) to 310.7 ± 23.1 nM (P < 0.05). These effects were completely abolished when neurons were preincubated with calcium-free bath solution or ruthenium-red (5 µM) and capsazepine (10 µM), suggesting the possibility of TRPV1 channel-activation by (–)-carvone. Activity of (–)-carvone on TRPV1 channels was further investigated in HEK293 cells expressing recombinant human TRPV1 channels revealing dose-dependent calcium transients with an EC50 of 1.3 ± 0.2 mM (Hill coefficient = 2.5). In conclusion, we show for the first time the ability of (–)-carvone to induce increases in cytosolic calcium concentration through TRPV1 activation. © 2013 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry