Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

The Master Switch for Itch?

Sci. Signal.  28 May 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 277, pp. ec122
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004353

Recently, gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) has been implicated as the primary neurotransmitter between itch-sensitive nerve fibers and downstream neurons in the spinal cord. However, Mishra and Hoon challenge this view, provide evidence that natriuretic polypeptide b (Nppb) is the central itch neurotransmitter, and suggest that GRP is released by second-order neurons in the spinal dorsal horn that are positive for the Nppb receptor and are excited by Nppb.

S. K. Mishra, M. A. Hoon, The cells and circuitry for itch responses in mice. Science 340, 968–971 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]