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Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Sep 5;477(1):29-35.

Involvement of central mu-opioid system in the scratching behavior in mice, and the suppression of it by the activation of kappa-opioid system.

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Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories, Toray Industries, Inc, 1111 Tebiro Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8555, Japan.


The role of central mu- and kappa-opioid receptors in the regulation of itch sensation was examined using pruritogen-induced mouse scratching behavior model. Intracerebroventricular administration of beta-funaltrexamine, a selective mu-opioid receptor antagonist, inhibited the scratching behavior induced by intradermal substance P, but subcutaneous administration of beta-funaltrexamine did not. Similarly, the scratching inhibitory activity of subcutaneously administered TRK-820, (-)-17-(cyclopropylmethyl)-3, 14beta-dihydroxy-4, 5alpha-epoxy-6beta-[N-methyl-trans-3-(3-furyl) acrylamido] morphinan hydrochloride, a kappa-opioid receptor agonist, was antagonized by intracerebroventricular administration of nor-binaltorphimine (10 microg/site), a kappa-opioid receptor antagonist, but was not by subcutaneous administration of nor-binaltorphimine. In addition, the scratching induced by the direct activation of central mu-opioid receptor by intracisternal morphine was significantly and dose-dependently inhibited by subcutaneous administration of TRK-820. Taken all together, it is suggested that the central mu-opioid receptors play a role in the processing of itch sensation, and the activation of central kappa-opioid receptors antagonize the central mu-opioid receptor mediated itch processing, thereby suppressing itch sensation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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