A Chinese research discovered a group of neurons related to scratch in mice, which can help develop new drugs for chronic itching. Itching can be caused for many reasons, including allergies, irritating chemicals, parasites, pregnancies and treatment.for cancer.
Itching is important for animal survival. Animals can get rid of harmful substances on the skin, as itching causes scrape. In some cases, skin damage caused by scratches can cause strong immune responses.
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However, patients with chronic itching can suffer injuries due to forced labor. Effective treatments are still lacking due to limited knowledge of the neuronal mechanism of itching.
Previous studies show that periaqueductal gray (PAG), a deep brain region, acts as the central control center for pain modulation. Researchers at the Neuroscience Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences suspected that PAG would also be involved in itching.
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In the study published in the latest release of the US journal Neuron, Chinese researchers recorded neuronal activities in the PAG region among laboratory mice that were induced to scratch and scratch.
When the mice were induced to scrape, the PAG neurons produced a neurotransmitter called glutamate and a neuropeptide called Tac1.
The researchers found that scrap behavior with induced pruritus significantly decreased when the PAG neurons producing Tac1 were removed. On the other hand, stimulation of Tacl-producing neurons caused a spontaneous scrape even when the mice were not induced to bite.
Sun Yangang, senior research writer, said he and his team were planning to investigate which molecules of Tac1-producing PAG neurons that could be attacked by drugs in future studies.
"These studies help us to design new approaches or develop new drugs for the treatment of chronic itchy patients," says Sun.