AChemS 2011 Day 3 Chemesthesis

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By Nicole Garneau, PhD

New Frontiers in Chemesthesis: pronounced keem-E-thesis, think perception of pain, temperature, and touch (can be used in all sensory organs)- in the mouth it includes pain from capsaicin in hot peppers, menthol cooling sensation, and the signals are sent to the brain through cranial nerve V- the trigeminal nerve.


Synonyms- irritation, common chemical sense. A stimulant that is perceived and the body reponse.

Today's excellent talks which included these cool data:

1. "Toothache tree" Zanthoxylum (peppercorns) contains hydroxy-alpha-sanshool. This compound causes "tingling" when used topically. Dr. Diana Bautista (I'll get a video embeded above) showed that the mechanism of this natural pain reliever was not due to the same ways that capsaicin or mustard seed works, and that it can reverse mechanical (touch) sensitivity when skin is inflamed.


2. Oleocanthal, a chemical in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as Rachel Ray would say), is pungent to the human oral cavity, Dr. Catherine Peyrot de Gachons found this mild irritation is due to the same mechanism of action as ibruprophen, it elicits the TRPA1 channel.



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