Braz J Med Biol Res. 2016;49(6):e5183
Physical exercise triggers coordinated physiological responses to meet the augmented metabolic demand of contracting muscles. To provide adequate responses, the brain must receive sensory information about the physiological status of peripheral tissues and organs, such as changes in osmolality, temperature and pH. Most of the receptors involved in these afferent pathways express ion channels, including transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which are usually activated by more than one type of stimulus and are therefore considered polymodal receptors. Among these TRP channels, the TRPV1 channel (transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 or capsaicin receptor) has well-documented functions in the modulation of pain sensation and thermoregulatory responses. However, the TRPV1 channel is also expressed in non-neural tissues, suggesting that this channel may perform a broad range of functions. In this review, we first present a brief overview of the available tools for studying the physiological roles of the TRPV1 channel. Then, we present the relationship between the TRPV1 channel and spontaneous locomotor activity, physical performance, and modulation of several physiological responses, including water and electrolyte balance, muscle hypertrophy, and metabolic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and inflammatory responses. Altogether, the data presented herein indicate that the TPRV1 channel modulates many physiological functions other than nociception and thermoregulation. In addition, these data open new possibilities for investigating the role of this channel in the acute effects induced by a single bout of physical exercise and in the chronic effects induced by physical training.