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Relief of itch by scratching: state-dependent inhibition of primate spinothalamic tract neurons

Nature Neuroscience volume 12, pages 544546 (2009) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Itch is relieved by scratching, but the neural mechanisms that are responsible for this are unknown. Spinothalamic tract (STT) neurons respond to itch-producing agents and transmit pruritic information to the brain. We observed that scratching the cutaneous receptive field of primate STT neurons produced inhibition during histamine-evoked activity but not during spontaneous activity or activity evoked by a painful stimulus, suggesting that scratching inhibits the transmission of itch in the spinal cord in a state-dependent manner.

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Acknowledgements

We thank H. Truong for his valuable technical assistance. This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grants NS-047399 and NS-059199 and by the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

    • Steve Davidson
    • , Donald A Simone
    •  & Glenn J Giesler Jr
  2. Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

    • Steve Davidson
    • , Xijing Zhang
    •  & Glenn J Giesler Jr
  3. Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

    • Sergey G Khasabov
    •  & Donald A Simone

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Glenn J Giesler Jr.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2292