Peripheral thermosensation in mammals

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014 Sep;15(9):573-89. doi: 10.1038/nrn3784. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


Our ability to perceive temperature is crucial: it enables us to swiftly react to noxiously cold or hot objects and helps us to maintain a constant body temperature. Sensory nerve endings, upon depolarization by temperature-gated ion channels, convey electrical signals from the periphery to the CNS, eliciting a sense of temperature. In the past two decades, we have witnessed important advances in our understanding of mammalian thermosensation, with the identification and animal-model assessment of candidate molecular thermosensors - such as types of transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels - involved in peripheral thermosensation. Ongoing research aims to understand how these miniature thermometers operate at the cellular and molecular level, and how they can be pharmacologically targeted to treat pain without disturbing vital thermoregulatory processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology*
  • Thermosensing / physiology*
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / physiology*


  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels

Associated data

  • PDB/3J5P