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Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome

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Obesity -- Treatments, Thermogenesis


Increasing basal energy expenditure via uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent non-shivering thermogenesis is an attractive therapeutic strategy for treatment of obesity. Transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) channel activation by cold and cold mimetics induces UCP1 transcription and prevents obesity in animals, but the clinical relevance of this relationship remains incompletely understood. A review of TRPM8 channel agonism for treatment of obesity focusing on menthol was undertaken. Adipocyte TRPM8 activation results in Ca2+ influx and protein kinase A (PKA) activation, which induces mitochondrial elongation, mitochondrial localization to lipid droplets, lipolysis, β-oxidation, and UCP1 expression. Ca2+-induced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species activate UCP1. In animals, TRPM8 agonism increases basal metabolic rate, non-shivering thermogenesis, oxygen consumption, exercise endurance, and fatty acid oxidation and decreases abdominal fat percentage. Menthol prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and liver triacylglycerol accumulation. Hypothalamic TRPM8 activation releases glucagon, which activates PKA and promotes catabolism. TRPM8 polymorphisms are associated with obesity. In humans, oral menthol and other TRPM8 agonists have little effect. However, topical menthol appears to increase core body temperature and metabolic rate. A randomized clinical control trial of topical menthol in obese patients is warranted.


Copyright © 2021 Korean Society for the Study of Obesity This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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