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

Steve Davidson, Xijing Zhang, Sergey G. Khasabov, Donald A. Simone, Glenn J. Giesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-546
Number of pages3
JournalNature neuroscience
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
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.

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