Published: 22 January 2020

Authors: Masashi Kanezaki, PT, PhD Kunihiko Terada, MD, PhD Satoru Ebihara, MD, PhD

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 180


    Inhalation of L-menthol as a transient receptor potential melastatin 8 agonist induces a cooling sensation in the airway. This cooling sensation induced through olfactory stimulation by L-menthol (OSM) alleviates dyspnea in healthy humans. Therefore, we investigated effects of OSM on the neural respiratory drive (NRD) and multidimensional aspects of dyspnea induced by inspiratory resistive loaded breathing in COPD.


    In total, 28 patients with COPD and 14 control participants were included in this randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study. OSM was administered using an L-menthol-scented patch, whereas placebo was administered using olfactory stimulation by strawberry-scented patch: placebo (OSP). Sham condition was measured by breathing through a face mask without a OSP. Dyspnea was evoked by breathing through the inspiratory resistance of 20 or 30 cm H 2O/L/s and measured using the Multidimensional Dyspnea Profile. NRD was estimated using the electromyogram activities of the parasternal intercostal muscles.


    Compared with sham and OSP, OSM did not alter the breathing pattern/timing and NRD during inspiratory resistive loading; however, it significantly alleviated the physical and mental breathing effort, air hunger, breathing discomfort, anxiety, and fear during inspiratory resistive loaded breathing in patients with COPD. However, although OSM reduced the air hunger, mental breathing effort, and unpleasantness, no significant improvement on affective dimension of dyspnea by OSM was observed in control participants.


    Our findings suggest that OSM activated the sense of inspiratory flow that achieved dyspnea relief in patients with COPD.

    Trial Registry

    UMIN Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR); No.: UMIN000033822; URL: