Rubbing alcohol makes open wounds sting because it lowers the temperature threshold of heat-detecting VR1 receptors–so much so that your own body heat triggers a burning sensation

Ethanol elicits and potentiates nociceptor responses via the vanilloid receptor-1

Abstract

The vanilloid receptor-1 (VR1) is a heat-gated ion channel that is responsible for the burning sensation elicited by capsaicin. A similar sensation is reported by patients with esophagitis when they consume alcoholic beverages or are administered alcohol by injection as a medical treatment. We report here that ethanol activates primary sensory neurons, resulting in neuropeptide release or plasma extravasation in the esophagus, spinal cord or skin. Sensory neurons from trigeminal or dorsal root ganglia as well as VR1-expressing HEK293 cells responded to ethanol in a concentration-dependent and capsazepine-sensitive fashion. Ethanol potentiated the response of VR1 to capsaicin, protons and heat and lowered the threshold for heat … Continue Reading (1 minute read)

6 thoughts on “Rubbing alcohol makes open wounds sting because it lowers the temperature threshold of heat-detecting VR1 receptors–so much so that your own body heat triggers a burning sensation”

  1. Mutt1223

    It hurts itself in its confusion

  2. MyNameIsRay

    Just for reference, Ethanol is the fun alcohol that gets you drunk.

    Isopropanol is rubbing alcohol.

    This paper is on Ethanol, not rubbing alcohol.

  3. smashmolia

    Isn this similar to how capsaicin (spicey food) and menthol works?

  4. Cromsmountain34

    When will there be a pill to turn off pain receptors?

    Edit: without any side effects.

  5. anglosaxonarmadillo

    I literally looked this up the other day because I was curious as to how this worked. Should have just waited a few days to have my random thoughts.

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