TRPV1, the capsaicin receptor, is expressed not only in nociceptive neurons, but also in other locations, including the hypothalamus. Studies involving systemic or intrahypothalamic capsaicin administration have suggested a role for TRPV1 in body temperature control. To explore this possibility, we examined thermoregulatory responses in TRPV1-/- mice. These mutant animals exhibited no obvious changes in circadian body temperature fluctuation, tolerance to increased (35°C) or decreased (4°C) ambient temperature or ethanol-induced hypothermia. In contrast, fever production in response to the bacterial pyrogen, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was significantly attenuated in TRPV1-/- mice. Despite this finding, we detected no significant differences between TRPV1-/- and control mice in the extent of LPS-induced c-Fos expression in numerous fever-related brain subregions. These results suggest that TRPV1 participates in the generation of polyphasic fever, perhaps at sites outside the brain.
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