The neural circuits of thermal perception


  • P. Bokiniec
  • N. Zampieri
  • G.R. Lewin
  • J.F.A. Poulet


  • Current Opinion in Neurobiology


  • Curr Opin Neurobiol 52: 98-106


  • Thermal information about skin surface temperature is a key sense for the perception of object identity and valence. The identification of ion channels involved in the transduction of thermal changes has provided a genetic access point to the thermal system. However, from sensory specific 'labeled-lines' to multimodal interactive pathways, the functional organization and identity of the neural circuits mediating innocuous thermal perception have been debated for over 100 years. Here we highlight points in the system that require further attention and review recent advances using in vivo electrophysiology, cellular resolution calcium imaging, optogenetics and thermal perceptual tasks in behaving mice that have begun to uncover the anatomical principles and neural processing mechanisms underlying innocuous thermal perception.