Itch receptors work through pain receptors on sensory neurons

The results of a study at the University of California, Berkeley add to growing evidence that the chemical signals that make us want to itch are the same as those that make us wince in pain. Some of the nerve cells in the skin respond only to itch and some only to pain, but some respond to both, causing itching and pain, and some substances also cause both itching and pain. Diana Bautista, assistant professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, says that the implications of the study are huge, because drugs currently being used to alleviate pain may be able to relieve itch too.

Most itch does not respond to antihistamine, including allergic itch. This research shows that one drug currently being tested as a pain reliever also blocks some types of itch that don’t respond to antihistamine.

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Source: University of Berkeley

May 2011


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