Getting to the root of itch

Orrling and Tomer S [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Neuroscientists have wondered for years whether the signals for itch and pain—two distinct sensations that are both mediated by primary sensory neurons with cell bodies in the dorsal root ganglion or trigeminal ganglia—are transmitted by the same neurons or whether specific neurons are dedicated to each. Some studies have shown that itch-sensing neurons also respond to painful stimuli, providing support for the former possibility. Now, new research from Xinzhong Dong (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD), leading an international team of scientists, has identified sensory neurons in mice that react exclusively to itch (Nat. Neurosci. 16, 174–182; 2013).

Lab Anim. (NY) 42, 74 (2013).
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