Scientists switch off ability to sense cold

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) A group of American scientists have successfully managed to selectively shut off in mice the ability to feel cold while leaving the sensation of touch and heat intact.

Feb 13 2013, 5:47am CST | by

Scientists switch off ability to sense cold
Photo Credit: Leigh Vogel, Getty Images

Washington, Feb 13 — A group of American scientists have successfully managed to selectively shut off in mice the ability to feel cold while leaving the sensation of touch and heat intact.

Neuroscientists at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences have isolated chills at a cellular level, identifying the sensory network of neurons in the skin that relays the sensation of cold.

David McKemy, associate professor of neurobiology in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and his team managed to selectively shut off the ability to sense cold in mice while still leaving them able to sense heat and touch.

In prior work, McKemy discovered a link between the experience of cold and a protein known as TRPM8 (pronounced trip-em-ate), which a sensor of cold temperatures in neurons in the skin, as well as a receptor for menthol, the cooling component of mint.

Now, in a paper appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience Feb 13, McKemy and his co-investigators have isolated and ablated the neurons that express TRPM8, giving them the ability to test the function of these cells specifically.

The researchers found that mice depleted of TRPM8 neurons could not feel cold, but still responded to heat, reports Science Daily.

"One of our goals is to pave the way for medications that address the pain directly, in a way that does not leave patients completely numb," said McKermy.

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/8" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.

 

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