Pungent products from garlic activate the sensory ion channel TRPA1

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Garlic belongs to the Allium family of plants that produce organosulfur compounds, such as allicin and diallyl disulfide (DADS), which account for their pungency and spicy aroma. Many health benefits have been ascribed to Allium extracts, including hypotensive and vasorelaxant activities. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects remain unknown. Intriguingly, allicin and DADS share structural similarities with allyl isothiocyanate, the pungent ingredient in wasabi and other mustard plants that induces pain and inflammation by activating TRPA1, an excitatory ion channel on primary sensory neurons of the pain pathway. Here we show that allicin and DADS excite an allyl isothiocyanate-sensitive subpopulation of sensory neurons and induce vasodilation by activating capsaicin-sensitive perivascular sensory nerve endings. Moreover, allicin and DADS activate the cloned TRPA1 channel when expressed in heterologous systems. These and other results suggest that garlic excites sensory neurons primarily through activation of TRPA1. Thus different plant genera, including Allium and Brassica, have developed evolutionary convergent strategies that target TRPA1 channels on sensory nerve endings to achieve chemical deterrence.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Medicinal Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12248-12252
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume102
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Organic chemistry (S/LTH) (011001240), Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology (013250300)