Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hot and cold senses interact: Cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated

Date:
April 8, 2013
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
A new study offers new insights into how the nervous system processes hot and cold temperatures. The research found an interaction between the neural circuits that detect hot and cold stimuli: cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated.

The neural circuit that senses heat and itch is labeled in red. Neural circuits that process other sensory stimuli are labeled in blue and green. The image is from the spinal cord.
Credit: Zylka Lab, UNC School of Medicine.

A study from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine offers new insights into how the nervous system processes hot and cold temperatures. The research led by neuroscientist Mark J. Zylka, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology, found an interaction between the neural circuits that detect hot and cold stimuli: cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated.

Related Articles


"This discovery has implications for how we perceive hot and cold temperatures and for why people with certain forms of chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain, or pain arising as direct consequence of a nervous system injury or disease, experience heightened responses to cold temperatures," says Zylka, a member of the UNC Neuroscience Center.

The study also has implications for why a promising new class of pain relief drugs known as TRPV1 antagonists (they block a neuron receptor protein) cause many patients to shiver and "feel cold" prior to the onset of hyperthermia, an abnormally elevated body temperature. Enhanced cold followed by hyperthermia is a major side effect that has limited the use of these drugs in patients with chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Zylka's research sheds new light on how the neural circuits that regulate temperature sensation bring about these responses, and could suggest ways of reducing such side-effects associated with TRPV1 antagonists and related drugs.

The research was selected by the journal Neuron as cover story for the April 10, 2013 print edition and was available in the April 4, 2013 advanced online edition.

This new study used cutting edge cell ablation technology to delete the nerve circuit that encodes heat and some forms of itch while preserving the circuitry that sense cold temperatures. This manipulation results in animals that were practically "blind" to heat, meaning they could no longer detect hot temperatures, Zylka explains. "Just like removing heat from a room makes us feel cold (such as with an air conditioner), removing the circuit that animals use to sense heat made them hypersensitive to cold. Physiological studies indicated that these distinct circuits regulate one another in the spinal cord."

TRPV1 is a receptor for heat and is found in the primary sensory nerve circuit that Zylka studied. TRPV1 antagonists make patients temporarily blind to heat, which Zylka speculates is analogous to what happened when his lab deleted the animals' circuit that detects heat: cold hypersensitivity.

Zylka emphasizes that future studies will be needed to confirm that TRPV1 antagonists affect cold responses in a manner similar to what his lab found with nerve circuit deletion.

The study was conducted in the Zylka lab by postdoctoral scientists Eric S. McCoy, Sarah E. Street, and Jihong Zheng and by research associates Bonnie Taylor-Blake and Alaine Pribisco. Funding for the research came from the Searle Scholars Program, The Klingenstein Foundation, The Rita Allen Foundation, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. EricS. McCoy, Bonnie Taylor-Blake, SarahE. Street, AlaineL. Pribisko, Jihong Zheng, MarkJ. Zylka. Peptidergic CGRPα Primary Sensory Neurons Encode Heat and Itch and Tonically Suppress Sensitivity to Cold. Neuron, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.01.030

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Hot and cold senses interact: Cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408172243.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2013, April 8). Hot and cold senses interact: Cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408172243.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Hot and cold senses interact: Cold perception is enhanced when nerve circuitry for heat is inactivated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408172243.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins