Increased vanilloid receptor VR1 innervation in vulvodynia

Penelope Tympanidis, Maria Anna Casula, Yiangos Yiangou, Giorgio Terenghi, Pauline Dowd, Praveen Anand

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Vulvodynia is characterised by painful burning sensation, allodynia and hyperalgesia in the region of the vulval vestibulus. While in many patients the cause of vulvodynia remains uncertain, we and others have previously shown increased intraepithelial and papillary innervation in vulvodynia. The vanilloid receptor VR1 (TRPV1) is expressed by nociceptors, and is triggered by capsaicin, noxious heat, protons, and chemicals produced during inflammation. In the present study we show increased papillary VR1 fibres by immunostaining and image analysis in vulvodynia tissues compared to controls (P <0.002). VR1 expression was found to be significantly increased when the percentage area immunostained was expressed as a ratio of VR1 to PGP 9.5, a pan-neuronal marker (P = 0.01). VR1-positive fine epidermal fibres also appeared to be increased in vulvodynia tissues, by inspection. Fibres immunoreactive to the voltage-gated sodium channel SNS1/PN3 (Nav1.8), also expressed by nociceptors, were relatively scarce in both vulvodynia and control tissues. We hypothesize that increased expression of VR1 by nociceptors could mediate some of the symptoms in vulvodynia, for which systemic or topical specific VR1 antagonists may provide novel treatment. © 2003 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-133
    Number of pages4
    JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


    • Nav1.8
    • Pain
    • TRPV1
    • Vanilloid receptor VR1
    • Voltage-gated sodium channel SNS/PN3
    • Vulvodynia


    Dive into the research topics of 'Increased vanilloid receptor VR1 innervation in vulvodynia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this