Why itch is contagious? (Links to an external site)

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.

Neural pathway key to sensation of pleasant touch identified (Links to an external site)

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.

Scratching an itch

A new mechanism involved in the sensation of itching has been found in mice.

A neuropeptide code for itch (Links to an external site)

The encoding of itch by peripheral and central neural circuits is a topic of long-standing interest in the somatosensory field. Here, Zhou-Feng Chen outlines a model for itch coding that emphasizes the role of neuropeptides in conveying itch information from the periphery to the spinal cord.

What makes us sneeze? (Links to an external site)

A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified, in mice, specific cells and proteins that control the sneeze reflex. Better understanding of what causes us to sneeze — specifically how neurons behave in response to allergens and viruses — may point to treatments capable of slowing the spread of infectious respiratory diseases.