TRPM8 as the rapid testosterone signaling receptor: Implications in the regulation of dimorphic sexual and social behaviors

Adithya Mohandass, Vivek Krishnan, Ekaterina D. Gribkova, Swapna Asuthkar, Padmamalini Baskaran, Yelena Nersesyan, Zahir Hussain, Leslie M. Wise, Robert E. George, Nadarra Stokes, Brenda M. Alexander, Alejandro M. Cohen, Evgeny V. Pavlov, Daniel A. Llano, Michael X. Zhu, Baskaran Thyagarajan, Eleonora Zakharian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Testosterone regulates dimorphic sexual behaviors in all vertebrates. However, the molecular mechanism underlying these behaviors remains unclear. Here, we report that a newly identified rapid testosterone signaling receptor, Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 8 (TRPM8), regulates dimorphic sexual and social behaviors in mice. We found that, along with higher steroid levels in the circulation, TRPM8−/− male mice exhibit increased mounting frequency indiscriminate of sex, delayed sexual satiety, and increased aggression compared to wild-type controls, while TRPM8−/− females display an increased olfaction-exploratory behavior. Furthermore, neuronal responses to acute testosterone application onto the amygdala were attenuated in TRPM8−/− males but remained unchanged in females. Moreover, activation of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area following mating was impaired in TRPM8−/− males. Together, these results demonstrate that TRPM8 regulates dimorphic sexual and social behaviors, and potentially constitutes a signalosome for mediation of sex-reward mechanism in males. Thus, deficiency of TRPM8 might lead to a delayed sexual satiety phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10887-10906
Number of pages20
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • aggression
  • dopaminergic neurons
  • reward system
  • sexual Behavior
  • testosterone
  • transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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