Pharmacology and clinical pharmacy

The TRPM2 channel is a hypothalamic heat sensor that limits fever and can drive hypothermia

Prof. Dr. Jan Siemens, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Published in: Science 353, 6803 (2016)

The discovery of the first thermal sensor in the brain provides an insight into the brain overheating function in the case of fever. From a certain temperature of about 39 degrees Celsius, the protein TRM2 releases calcium into cells, initiating a signal chain whereupon the body generates heat. The team led by Prof. Dr. Jan Siemens has gained a molecular insight into the complex and previously little understood mechanisms of heat regulation in the brain and expects TRM2 to have a potential use. At normal body temperature regulation TRPM2 does not appear to have any critical role – there must therefore be further heat sensors in this region of the brain. Only when overheating becomes imminent, for example in the case of high fever, does it ensure that the excess heat is released.