Itching can contagious and the reflex pathway behind it has been identified in mice (Links to an external site)
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.
Specialized Brain Circuit Makes Mice Itchy When They See Others Scratch (Links to an external site)
A previously undetected pathway in the mouse brain bypasses the visual cortex to directly activate contagious itch.
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.
Acute itching in eczema patients linked to environmental allergens (Links to an external site)
The new exciting study reveals a novel pathway for acute allergic itch that is resistant to antihistamines, a debilitating condition associated with patients who already suffer from chronic itch such as atopic dermatitis.
How is innocuous light touch converted into itch? (Links to an external site)
A new study, from Dr. Zhou-Feng Chen’s team, reveals a novel neural circuit that converts innocuous light touch into an irritating itch sensation. Tac2 neurons receive light touch information and convey it to GRPR neurons, which convert it into irritating itch.
GRP fibers in the skin are itch specific (Links to an external site)
Using novel genetic tools, Dr. Zhou-Feng Chen’s team has demonstrated the role of GRP in nonhistaminergic itch in sensory neurons and GRP primary afferents are dedicated to the itch transmission.