Novel menthol-derived cooling compounds activate primary and second-order trigeminal sensory neurons and modulate lingual thermosensitivity.

Research paper by Amanda H AH Klein, Mirela M Iodi Carstens, T Scott TS McCluskey, Guillaume G Blancher, Christopher T CT Simons, Jay P JP Slack, Stefan S Furrer, Earl E Carstens

Indexed on: 23 Apr '11Published on: 23 Apr '11Published in: Chemical senses


We presently investigated 2 novel menthol derivatives GIV1 and GIV2, which exhibit strong cooling effects. In previous human psychophysical studies, GIV1 delivered in a toothpaste medium elicited a cooling sensation that was longer lasting compared with GIV2 and menthol carboxamide (WS-3). In the current study, we investigated the molecular and cellular effects of these cooling agents. In calcium flux studies of TRPM8 expressed in HEK cells, both GIV1 and GIV2 were approximately 40- to 200-fold more potent than menthol and WS-3. GIV1 and GIV2 also activated TRPA1 but at levels that were 400 times greater than those required for TRPM8 activation. In calcium imaging studies, subpopulations of cultured rat trigeminal ganglion and dorsal root ganglion cells responded to GIV1 and/or GIV2; the majority of these were also activated by menthol and some were additionally activated by the TRPA1 agonist cinnamaldehyde and/or the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin. We also made in vivo single-unit recordings from cold-sensitive neurons in rat trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (Vc). GIV 1 and GIV2 directly excited some Vc neurons, GIV1 significantly enhanced their responses to cooling, and both GIV1 and GIV2 reduced responses to noxious heat. These novel cooling compounds provide additional molecular tools to investigate the neural processes of cold sensation.