Transient receptor potential ion channel melastatin subtype 8 (TRPM8) is activated by cold temperature and cooling agents, such as menthol and icilin. Compounds containing peppermint are reported to reduce symptoms of environmental cold stress such as cold allodynia in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron; however, the underlying mechanisms of action are unclear. We tested the effects of physiological heat (37 degrees C), anthralic acid (ACA and 0.025 mM), 2-aminoethyl diphenylborinate (2-APB and 0.05) on noxious cold (10 degrees C) and menthol (0.1 mM)-induced TRPM8 cation channel currents in the DRG neurons of rats. DRG neurons were freshly isolated from rats. In whole-cell patch clamp experiments, TRPM8 currents were consistently induced by noxious cold or menthol. TRPM8 channels current densities of the neurons were higher in cold and menthol groups than in control. When the physiological heat is introduced by chamber TRPM8 channel currents were inhibited by the heat. Noxious cold-induced Ca2+ gates were blocked by the ACA although menthol-induced TRPM8 currents were not blocked by ACA and 2-APB. In conclusion, the results suggested that activation of TRPM8 either by menthol or nociceptive cold can activate TRPM8 channels although we observed the protective role of heat, ACA and 2-APB through a TRPM8 channel in nociceptive cold-activated DRG neurons. Since cold allodynia is a common feature of neuropathic pain and diseases of sensory neuron, our findings are relevant to the etiology of neuropathology in DRG neurons.