Trauma researchers discover way to block body's response to cold
Researchers at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., in collaboration with Amgen Inc. and several other institutions, have discovered a drug that blocks the body's response to cold. This finding could have significant implications in treating conditions such as stroke and cardiac arrest. Lowering the body's temperature is an effective way to treat certain conditions because of the body's decreased need for oxygen at low temperatures. However, natural defense mechanisms to maintain a steady temperature – such as shivering, vasoconstriction and heat generation by brown adipose tissue – can make it difficult to lower body temperature in unanesthetized patients. The research focuses on the TRPM8 (transient receptor potential melastatin-8 channel) receptor, a protein responsible for the sensation of feeling cold, and on M8-B, a drug that acts as a TRPM8 antagonist. The team discovered that M8-B inhibited multiple cold-defense mechanisms in mice and rat models.