A TRP channel that senses cold stimuli and menthol

Cell. 2002 Mar 8;108(5):705-15. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)00652-9.


A distinct subset of sensory neurons are thought to directly sense changes in thermal energy through their termini in the skin. Very little is known about the molecules that mediate thermoreception by these neurons. Vanilloid Receptor 1 (VR1), a member of the TRP family of channels, is activated by noxious heat. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of TRPM8, a distant relative of VR1. TRPM8 is specifically expressed in a subset of pain- and temperature-sensing neurons. Cells overexpressing the TRPM8 channel can be activated by cold temperatures and by a cooling agent, menthol. Our identification of a cold-sensing TRP channel in a distinct subpopulation of sensory neurons implicates an expanded role for this family of ion channels in somatic sensory detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antipruritics / pharmacology
  • CHO Cells
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / classification
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Menthol / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons, Afferent / drug effects*
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Thermoreceptors / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antipruritics
  • Calcium Channels
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Menthol
  • Calcium

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF481480