Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

When Do Newborns First Feel Cold?

18.06.2010
Cold sensing neural circuits in newborn mice take around two weeks to become fully active, according to a new study.

The finding adds to understanding of the cold sensing protein TRPM8 (pronounced trip-em-ate), first identified in a Nature paper in 2002 by USC College professor David McKemy.

McKemy’s study, published online by Neuroscience, shows that the cold sensing circuit starts to develop in utero but does not mature until well after birth.

“About three or four days before the animal is born, the protein is expressed. However, the axons of these nerves going into the spinal cord are not fully formed until probably two weeks after birth,” said McKemy, an assistant professor of neurobiology.

The delay in development of cold sensing is plausible, McKemy added.

“In the womb, when would we ever feel cold?”

By contrast, mice are born with a keen sense of smell, which they need to breast feed successfully.

Direct study of the cold sensing protein TRPM8 in humans is not yet possible. While sensory development differs in mice and humans - mice are born blind, for example - the study suggests a possible biological basis for findings of altered cold sensitivity in premature infants.

In a 2008 study of temperature sensation by the Institute of Child Health at University College London, researchers found that 11-year-old children born prematurely were less sensitive to temperature than those born at term.

“This is consistent with our observations that the circuitry is not fully developed until after birth, thus anything that disrupts this formation at this important stage could have long-term effects,” McKemy noted.

“There are other reports that injury and inflammation in rodent models that occur during the [prenatal] period lead to altered temperature sensitivity as well as altered neural circuits.”

The USC researchers tracked development of cold sensing through mice genetically engineered to express a green fluorescent protein whenever TRPM8 was produced.

TRPM8 is one in a class of proteins known as ion channels. Their purpose is to “turn on the cell” when they receive a stimulus. TRPM8 senses both painful cold and the soothing cold of menthol-based creams.

How one protein can convey both sensations is unknown. McKemy speculated that neurons differ in their internal architecture, with each tuned to accept either painful or pleasant cold signals from TRPM8.

One goal of TRPM8 research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of sensation, in the hope of developing better drugs for relief of chronic pain states, such as the extreme sensitivity to cold experienced by some diabetes patients.

“If you want to understand conditions like cold allodynia, which is cold pain, you need to find exactly what are the targets,” McKemy said.

“If we understand the basic nuts and bolts of the molecules and neurons and how they detect pain normally,” McKemy said, “then perhaps we can figure out why we detect pain when we shouldn’t.”

For a demonstration of how mice lacking TRPM8 lose much of their cold sensitivity, view the video at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7150/suppinfo/nature05910.html

McKemy’s collaborators on the study were first author Yoshio Takashima, now a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, and Le Ma, assistant professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The National Institutes of Health funded the research.

Carl Marziali | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

Further reports about: McKemy Newborns TRPM8 USC cold fusion health services molecular mechanism

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>