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J Neurosci. 2011 May 18;31(20):7563-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1192-11.2011.

BAM8-22 peptide produces itch and nociceptive sensations in humans independent of histamine release.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.

Abstract

Chronic itch accompanying many dermatological, neurological, and systemic diseases is unresponsive to antihistamines. Our knowledge of endogenous chemicals that evoke histamine-independent itch and their molecular targets is very limited. Recently it was demonstrated in behavioral and cellular experiments that bovine adrenal medulla 8-22 peptide (BAM8-22), a proteolytically cleaved product of proenkephalin A, is a potent activator of Mas-related G-protein-coupled receptors (Mrgprs), MrgprC11 and hMrgprX1, and induces scratching in mice in an Mrgpr-dependent manner. To study the sensory qualities that BAM8-22 evokes in humans, we tested the volar forearm of 15 healthy volunteers with heat-inactivated cowhage spicules previously soaked in the peptide. BAM8-22 produced itch in each subject, usually accompanied by sensations of pricking/stinging and burning. The sensations were occasionally accompanied by one or more mechanically evoked dysesthesias, namely alloknesis, hyperknesis, and/or hyperalgesia, but no wheal or neurogenic flare in the skin surrounding the application site. The inactive truncated peptide BAM8-18 produced weak or no sensations. Pretreatment of the tested skin with an antihistamine cream (doxepin) inhibited histamine-induced sensations, dysesthesias, and skin reactions but not the sensations and dysesthesias evoked by BAM8-22. We show that BAM8-22 produces itch and nociceptive sensations in humans in a histamine-independent manner. Thus, BAM8-22 may be an endogenous itch mediator that activates, in humans, MrgprX1, a novel target for potential anti-itch treatments.

PMID:
21593341
PMCID:
PMC3111068
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1192-11.2011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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