Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2017 Mar 10;355(6329):1072-1076. doi: 10.1126/science.aak9748.

Molecular and neural basis of contagious itch behavior in mice.

Yu YQ1,2,3, Barry DM1,2, Hao Y1,2, Liu XT1,2, Chen ZF4,2,5,6.

Author information

1
Center for the Study of Itch, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
2
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
3
Institute for Biomedical Sciences of Pain, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710038, China.
4
Center for the Study of Itch, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA. chenz@wustl.edu.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
6
Department of Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Abstract

Socially contagious itch is ubiquitous in human society, but whether it exists in rodents is unclear. Using a behavioral paradigm that does not entail prior training or reward, we found that mice scratched after observing a conspecific scratching. Molecular mapping showed increased neuronal activity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus of mice that displayed contagious scratching. Ablation of gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) or GRPR neurons in the SCN abolished contagious scratching behavior, which was recapitulated by chemogenetic inhibition of SCN GRP neurons. Activation of SCN GRP/GRPR neurons evoked scratching behavior. These data demonstrate that GRP-GRPR signaling is necessary and sufficient for transmitting contagious itch information in the SCN. The findings may have implications for our understanding of neural circuits that control socially contagious behaviors.

PMID:
28280205
PMCID:
PMC5502115
DOI:
10.1126/science.aak9748
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center