University of Southern California researchers have identified what makes us feel cold right down to the cellular level and were able to 'switch off' the sensory neuron networks in mice that give them the ability to sense cold.
Researchers led by David McKemy had earlier identified a protein called TRPM8 acts as a form of sensor of cold temperatures in neurons in the skin as well as a receptor of menthol, the cooling component of mint.
AdvertisementThe researchers made use of mouse-tracking software program on two groups of mice, one of which was without TRPM8 neurons on a multi-temperature surface.
Both the groups were exposed to regions with temperatures ranging from 0 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius and the researchers found that those mice that lacked TRPM8 neurons were able to feel the heat but did not respond to colder temperatures and often wandered into regions with very low temperatures compared to the control group mice that limited their wanderings to region with temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius.
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