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Scientists identify protein channel that mediates body's ability to feel frigid temperatures

cting hot and cold temperatures.

Scientists had long assumed that different neurons would detect different stimuli and be responsible for communicating those separately to the brain. But if the same neurons detect hot and cold, how does the brain tell the two stimuli apart? The answer, while unclear, may explain an old psychologist's observation that humans cannot tell the difference between a hot needlepoint and a cold needlepoint on their hand.

Significantly, ANKTM1's neuronal neighbor TRPV1 is involved in inflammation and in communicating pain to the brain, and several compounds that block TRPV1's action are currently under investigation for chronic pain indications. Since ANKTM1 is expressed in the same neurons, it, too, may be a target for pain therapeutics.

"This protein may be an important therapeutic target," says Patapoutian, "because, like these other TRP channels, it may be involved in inflammation and pain-mediation."


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Contact: Jason Bardi
jasonb@scripps.edu
858-784-9254
Scripps Research Institute
2-Apr-2003


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