The Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders seeks to understand the fundamental underlying mechanisms of itch and translate these findings into treatments for patients suffering from intractable itch.
To better understand how the SCN receives contagious itch signals, the team referred to its past research, which suggested that retinal ganglion cells, a type of light-capturing neuron, were involved.
A previously undetected pathway in the mouse brain bypasses the visual cortex to directly activate contagious itch.
A team led by Zhou-Feng Chen, Ph.D. identified a novel visual neural pathway responsible for contagious itch in mice. This new visual pathway for contagious itch does not require the visual cortex and might be evolutionarily ancient.
Zhou-Feng Chen, PhD, director of the Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, alongside his team, identified a neural circuit and a neuropeptide in mice — a chemical messenger that carries signals between nerve cells — that transmit the sensation known as pleasant touch from the skin to the brain.
A new mechanism involved in the sensation of itching has been found in mice.