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J Neurosci. 2012 Oct 17;32(42):14532-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3509-12.2012.

Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine.

Author information

1
The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Center for Sensory Biology, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.

Abstract

β-Alanine, a popular supplement for muscle building, induces itch and tingling after consumption, but the underlying molecular and neural mechanisms are obscure. Here we show that, in mice, β-alanine elicited itch-associated behavior that requires MrgprD, a G-protein-coupled receptor expressed by a subpopulation of primary sensory neurons. These neurons exclusively innervate the skin, respond to β-alanine, heat, and mechanical noxious stimuli but do not respond to histamine. In humans, intradermally injected β-alanine induced itch but neither wheal nor flare, suggesting that the itch was not mediated by histamine. Thus, the primary sensory neurons responsive to β-alanine are likely part of a histamine-independent itch neural circuit and a target for treating clinical itch that is unrelieved by anti-histamines.

PMID:
23077038
PMCID:
PMC3491570
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3509-12.2012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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