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Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Aug;96(31):e7640. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000007640.

The identification of the TRPM8 channel on primary culture of human nasal epithelial cells and its response to cooling.

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aDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center bGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University cDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University dDepartment of Pediatrics, Tungs' Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital eDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.



It has been proposed that the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel Melastatin 8 (TRPM8) is a cold-sensing TRP channel. However, its presence and its role in the nasal cavity have not yet been fully studied.


Immunohistology was used to study TRPM8 receptors in both the nasal mucosa tissue and the primary cultures of human nasal cells. Cells from primary cultures were immunostained with antibodies to TRPM8, mucin, cytokeratin (CK)-14, CK-18, and vimentin. Western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to determine the physiological role of TRPM8 in mucus production in the nasal cavity, with and without its agonist and antagonist.


The TRPM8 is clearly present in the epithelium, mucous glands, and vessels. No obvious TRPM8-immunoreactive cells were detected in the connective tissue. Immunostaining of cytospin preparations showed that epithelial cells test positive for CK-14, CK-18, TRPM8, and mucin 5AC (MUC5AC). Fibroblastic cells are stained negative for TRPM8. Secreted mucins in the cultured supernatant are detected after exposure to menthol and moderate cooling to 24°C. Both induce a statistically significant increase in the level of MUC5AC mRNA and mucin production. BCTC, a TRPM8 antagonist, has a statistically significant inhibitory effect on MUC5AC mRNA expression and MUC5AC protein production that is induced by menthol and moderate cooling to 24°C.


The study demonstrates that TRPM8 is present in the nasal epithelium. When it is activated by moderate cooling to 24°C or menthol, TRPM8 induces the secretion of mucin. This study shows that TRPM8 channels are important regulators of mucin production. Therefore, TRPM8 antagonists could be used to treat refractory rhinitis.

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