The scientific group identified a brain mechanism that induced people to scratch their skin, which could help find effective treatment chronic itching, according to a study published in a special magazine nerve cell.
The team of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led by Yan-Gang Sun, noted that the neural neurons located in the small a deep brain area called "periaqueductal gray", monitor scratch action mice. "There are still no effective treatments for chronic itching, which is largely due to scarcity of information on itching from the nervous system," Sun said.
How to test with mice
The lead author of the study found that this discovery provides a "starting point" to interpret how itching is treated in the brain. It can be because of many reasons like allergic reactions, skin conditions, irritants, parasites, diseases, pregnancies and cancer treatment.
According to experts, the scratch cycle can significantly affect the quality of life and causing serious damage to the skin and tissues. In their report, researchers analyzed the neurons of free-moving mice that were scratched by injections. Induced behavior triggered a number of neurons.
When researchers removed these neurons, scratching decreased significantly. In contrast, stimulation of these neurons triggered spontaneous scraping behavior.
Sun explained that itching was not known how itching developed although it is important for animal survival. "Itching is a key role in detecting harmful substances, especially those who have been adhering to the skin, "said Sun.
In future studies, Sun and his team are going to find out which drugs can attack neuronal molecules. "These studies will help us to design new approaches and developing new medicines patients with chronic itching, "Sun said.