The Chinese study found a number of neurons that joined scratch in mice, which could help develop new drugs for chronic itching. Itching can result from many causes, including allergies, irritant chemicals, parasites, pregnancies and treatment.cancer.
Itching is important for animal survival. Animals can get rid of harmful substances on their skin because the itching leads to scratching. In some cases, skin damage due to scratching can cause strong immune responses.
Also read: VIDEO: He stains his hair and ended up in the deformed head
But patients with chronic itching may suffer from skin damage by compulsive scratching. Effective treatments are still inadequate due to only a few data on neuronal mechanisms behind the pruritis.
Previous studies have shown that periaqueductal gray (PAG), the deep brain region, acts as the most important control center for pain modulation. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Department of Neuroscience suspected that PAG could also include itching.
You too: How to know if I have food allergies
In a recent journal published by US journalist Neuron, Chinese scientists register neurons in the PAG area among lab mice for itching and scratching.
When mice were induced to scratch, PAG neurons produced a neurotransmitter called glutamate and a neuropeptide named Tacl.
The researchers found that scratching behavior with induced pruritus significantly decreased when TAC1 produced PAG neurons were removed. In contrast, stimulation of Tacl-producing neurons caused spontaneous scraping, even though the mice did not induce bite.
Sun Yangang, the chief research editor, told him and his team that he was going to investigate which molecules of TAC1-producing PAG neurons in future studies.
"These studies will help us to design new approaches or develop new medicines for patients with chronic itching," said Sun.