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J Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Apr;4(2):88-96. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjs001. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Activation of the cold-sensing TRPM8 channel triggers UCP1-dependent thermogenesis and prevents obesity.

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  • 1Center for Hypertension and Metabolic Diseases, Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing Institute of Hypertension, Chongqing 400042, China.

Abstract

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is an energy-expending organ that produces heat. Expansion or activation of BAT prevents obesity and diabetes. Chronic cold exposure enhances thermogenesis in BAT through uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) activation triggered via a β-adrenergic pathway. Here, we report that the cold-sensing transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) is functionally present in mouse BAT. Challenging brown adipocytes with menthol, a TRPM8 agonist, up-regulates UCP1 expression and requires protein kinase A activation. Upon mimicking long-term cold exposure with chronic dietary menthol application, menthol significantly increased the core temperatures and locomotor activity in wild-type mice; these effects were absent in both TRPM8(-/-) and UCP1(-/-) mice. Dietary obesity and glucose abnormalities were also prevented by menthol treatment. Our results reveal a previously unrecognized role for TRPM8, suggesting that stimulation of this channel mediates BAT thermogenesis, which could constitute a promising way to treat obesity.

PMID:
22241835
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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