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Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 27;8(1):11328. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-28661-x.

Matrine inhibits itching by lowering the activity of calcium channel.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base for TCM Quality and Efficacy, School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, 138 Xianlin Road, Nanjing, 210023, China.
2
MOE Key Laboratory of Model Animal for Disease Study, Model Animal Research Center, Nanjing Biomedical Research Institute, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210061, China.
3
Department of Anesthesiology and the Center for the Study of Itch, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
4
The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Center for Sensory Biology, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.
5
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.
6
State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base for TCM Quality and Efficacy, School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, 138 Xianlin Road, Nanjing, 210023, China. yl907773@163.com.
7
State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base for TCM Quality and Efficacy, School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, 138 Xianlin Road, Nanjing, 210023, China. zongxiangtang@njutcm.edu.cn.

Abstract

Sophorae Flavescentis Radix (SFR) is a medicinal herb with many functions that are involved in anti-inflammation, antinociception, and anticancer. SFR is also used to treat a variety of itching diseases. Matrine (MT) is one of the main constituents in SFR and also has the effect of relieving itching, but the antipruritic mechanism is still unclear. Here, we investigated the effect of MT on anti-pruritus. In acute and chronic itch models, MT significantly inhibited the scratching behavior not only in acute itching induced by histamine (His), chloroquine (CQ) and compound 48/80 with a dose-depended manner, but also in the chronic pruritus models of atopic dermatitis (AD) and acetone-ether-water (AEW) in mice. Furthermore, MT could be detected in the blood after intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) and subcutaneous injection (s.c.). Finally, electrophysiological and calcium imaging results showed that MT inhibited the excitatory synaptic transmission from dorsal root ganglion (DRG) to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord by suppressing the presynaptic N-type calcium channel. Taken together, we believe that MT is a novel drug candidate in treating pruritus diseases, especially for histamine-independent and chronic pruritus, which might be attributed to inhibition of the presynaptic N-type calcium channel.

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