A Caltech Library Service

TRPV1-expressing primary afferents generate behavioral responses to pruritogens via multiple mechanisms

Imamachi, Noritaka and Park, Goon Ho and Lee, Hyosang and Anderson, David J. and Simon, Melvin I. and Basbaum, Allan I. and Han, Sang-Kyou (2009) TRPV1-expressing primary afferents generate behavioral responses to pruritogens via multiple mechanisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (27). pp. 11330-11335. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2708751. doi:10.1073/pnas.0905605106.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The mechanisms that generate itch are poorly understood at both the molecular and cellular levels despite its clinical importance. To explore the peripheral neuronal mechanisms underlying itch, we assessed the behavioral responses (scratching) produced by s.c. injection of various pruritogens in PLCβ3- or TRPV1-deficient mice. We provide evidence that at least 3 different molecular pathways contribute to the transduction of itch responses to different pruritogens: 1) histamine requires the function of both PLCβ3 and the TRPV1 channel; 2) serotonin, or a selective agonist, α-methyl-serotonin (α-Me-5-HT), requires the presence of PLCβ3 but not TRPV1, and 3) endothelin-1 (ET-1) does not require either PLCβ3 or TRPV1. To determine whether the activity of these molecules is represented in a particular subpopulation of sensory neurons, we examined the behavioral consequences of selectively eliminating 2 nonoverlapping subsets of nociceptors. The genetic ablation of MrgprD^+ neurons that represent ≈90% of cutaneous nonpeptidergic neurons did not affect the scratching responses to a number of pruritogens. In contrast, chemical ablation of the central branch of TRPV1+ nociceptors led to a significant behavioral deficit for pruritogens, including α-Me-5-HT and ET-1, that is, the TRPV1-expressing nociceptor was required, whether or not TRPV1 itself was essential. Thus, TRPV1 neurons are equipped with multiple signaling mechanisms that respond to different pruritogens. Some of these require TRPV1 function; others use alternate signal transduction pathways.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle Information
Anderson, David J.0000-0001-6175-3872
Additional Information:© 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Melvin I. Simon, May 20, 2009 (received for review May 4, 2009). Published online before print June 29, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905605106 We thank Mark Zylka for invaluable help, Heeju Kim and Valeria Mancino for help with the behavioral assays, and Timothy M. Kim for video analyses. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant PO1-NS048499 (to M.I.S., D.J.A., and A.I.B.). H.S.L. is supported by an award from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. D.J.A. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Author contributions: A.I.B. and S.-K.H. designed research; N.I., G.H.P., H.L., and S.-K.H. performed research; S.-K.H. analyzed data; and D.J.A., M.I.S., A.I.B., and S.-K.H. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Christopher and Dana Reeve FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:itch; PLCb3; scratching
Issue or Number:27
PubMed Central ID:PMC2708751
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090820-164722093
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15203
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Sep 2009 19:11
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:17

Repository Staff Only: item control page