New research published in the journal Cell reports that mice bred without a specific pain receptor live longer and are less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes in old age. The receptor, TRPV1, is found in the skin, nerves and joints. Mice without TRPV1 lived on average 14% longer than their normal counterparts.
The reason for the mice's increased longevity may lie in the TRPV1 receptor's role in regulating insulin. In the pancreas, TRPV1 neurons stimulate the release of a substance called CGRP, which prevents insulin from entering the bloodstream. With less insulin, it’s harder to control blood sugar. Mice without the TRPV1 gene had low levels of CGRP, which meant that they had more insulin and better ability to manage glucose levels. TRPV1 is already a popular target for new pharmacology, and a therapy that blocks CGRP is now in development for migraines. Read a news story about the study here. The study abstract may be found here.