Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man

Barbara Namer, Richard Carr, Lisa M. Johanek, Martin Schmelz, Hermann O. Handwerker, Matthias Ringkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent findings suggest that itch produced by intradermal insertion of cowhage spicules in human is histamine independent. Neuronal mechanisms underlying nonhistaminergic itch are poorly understood. To investigate which nerve fibers mediate cowhage induced itch in man, action potentials were recorded from cutaneous C-fibers of the peroneal nerve in healthy volunteers using microneurography. Mechano-responsive and -insensitive C-nociceptors were tested for their responsiveness to cowhage spicules, histamine, and capsaicin. Cowhage spicules induced itching and activated all tested mechano-responsive C-units (24/24, but no mechano-insensitive C-fibers (0/17). Histamine also induced itch, but in contrast to cowhage, it caused lasting activation only in mechano-insensitive units (8/12). In mechano-responsive C-units, histamine caused no or only short and weak responses unrelated to the time course of itching. Capsaicin injections activated four of six mechano-responsive fibers and three of four mechano-insensitive C-fibers. Cowhage and histamine activate distinctly different nonoverlapping populations of C-fibers while inducing similar sensations of itch. We hypothesize that cowhage activates a pathway for itch that originates peripherally from superficial mechano-responsive (polymodal) Cfibers and perhaps other afferent units. It is distinct from the pathway for histamine-mediated pruritus and does not involve the histamine-sensitive mechano-insensitive fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2062-2069
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Fingerprint

Pruritus
Histamine
Unmyelinated Nerve Fibers
Capsaicin
Peroneal Nerve
Nociceptors
Nerve Fibers
Action Potentials
Healthy Volunteers
Skin
Injections
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Namer, B., Carr, R., Johanek, L. M., Schmelz, M., Handwerker, H. O., & Ringkamp, M. (2008). Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man. Journal of Neurophysiology, 100(4), 2062-2069. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.90482.2008

Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man. / Namer, Barbara; Carr, Richard; Johanek, Lisa M.; Schmelz, Martin; Handwerker, Hermann O.; Ringkamp, Matthias.

In: Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 100, No. 4, 10.2008, p. 2062-2069.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Namer, B, Carr, R, Johanek, LM, Schmelz, M, Handwerker, HO & Ringkamp, M 2008, 'Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 100, no. 4, pp. 2062-2069. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.90482.2008
Namer B, Carr R, Johanek LM, Schmelz M, Handwerker HO, Ringkamp M. Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2008 Oct;100(4):2062-2069. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.90482.2008
Namer, Barbara ; Carr, Richard ; Johanek, Lisa M. ; Schmelz, Martin ; Handwerker, Hermann O. ; Ringkamp, Matthias. / Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man. In: Journal of Neurophysiology. 2008 ; Vol. 100, No. 4. pp. 2062-2069.
@article{3e09620bd32d41e7a9a4c9d53507ba44,
title = "Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man",
abstract = "Recent findings suggest that itch produced by intradermal insertion of cowhage spicules in human is histamine independent. Neuronal mechanisms underlying nonhistaminergic itch are poorly understood. To investigate which nerve fibers mediate cowhage induced itch in man, action potentials were recorded from cutaneous C-fibers of the peroneal nerve in healthy volunteers using microneurography. Mechano-responsive and -insensitive C-nociceptors were tested for their responsiveness to cowhage spicules, histamine, and capsaicin. Cowhage spicules induced itching and activated all tested mechano-responsive C-units (24/24, but no mechano-insensitive C-fibers (0/17). Histamine also induced itch, but in contrast to cowhage, it caused lasting activation only in mechano-insensitive units (8/12). In mechano-responsive C-units, histamine caused no or only short and weak responses unrelated to the time course of itching. Capsaicin injections activated four of six mechano-responsive fibers and three of four mechano-insensitive C-fibers. Cowhage and histamine activate distinctly different nonoverlapping populations of C-fibers while inducing similar sensations of itch. We hypothesize that cowhage activates a pathway for itch that originates peripherally from superficial mechano-responsive (polymodal) Cfibers and perhaps other afferent units. It is distinct from the pathway for histamine-mediated pruritus and does not involve the histamine-sensitive mechano-insensitive fibers.",
author = "Barbara Namer and Richard Carr and Johanek, {Lisa M.} and Martin Schmelz and Handwerker, {Hermann O.} and Matthias Ringkamp",
year = "2008",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1152/jn.90482.2008",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "100",
pages = "2062--2069",
journal = "Journal of Neurophysiology",
issn = "0022-3077",
publisher = "American Physiological Society",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Separate peripheral pathways for pruritus in man

AU - Namer, Barbara

AU - Carr, Richard

AU - Johanek, Lisa M.

AU - Schmelz, Martin

AU - Handwerker, Hermann O.

AU - Ringkamp, Matthias

PY - 2008/10

Y1 - 2008/10

N2 - Recent findings suggest that itch produced by intradermal insertion of cowhage spicules in human is histamine independent. Neuronal mechanisms underlying nonhistaminergic itch are poorly understood. To investigate which nerve fibers mediate cowhage induced itch in man, action potentials were recorded from cutaneous C-fibers of the peroneal nerve in healthy volunteers using microneurography. Mechano-responsive and -insensitive C-nociceptors were tested for their responsiveness to cowhage spicules, histamine, and capsaicin. Cowhage spicules induced itching and activated all tested mechano-responsive C-units (24/24, but no mechano-insensitive C-fibers (0/17). Histamine also induced itch, but in contrast to cowhage, it caused lasting activation only in mechano-insensitive units (8/12). In mechano-responsive C-units, histamine caused no or only short and weak responses unrelated to the time course of itching. Capsaicin injections activated four of six mechano-responsive fibers and three of four mechano-insensitive C-fibers. Cowhage and histamine activate distinctly different nonoverlapping populations of C-fibers while inducing similar sensations of itch. We hypothesize that cowhage activates a pathway for itch that originates peripherally from superficial mechano-responsive (polymodal) Cfibers and perhaps other afferent units. It is distinct from the pathway for histamine-mediated pruritus and does not involve the histamine-sensitive mechano-insensitive fibers.

AB - Recent findings suggest that itch produced by intradermal insertion of cowhage spicules in human is histamine independent. Neuronal mechanisms underlying nonhistaminergic itch are poorly understood. To investigate which nerve fibers mediate cowhage induced itch in man, action potentials were recorded from cutaneous C-fibers of the peroneal nerve in healthy volunteers using microneurography. Mechano-responsive and -insensitive C-nociceptors were tested for their responsiveness to cowhage spicules, histamine, and capsaicin. Cowhage spicules induced itching and activated all tested mechano-responsive C-units (24/24, but no mechano-insensitive C-fibers (0/17). Histamine also induced itch, but in contrast to cowhage, it caused lasting activation only in mechano-insensitive units (8/12). In mechano-responsive C-units, histamine caused no or only short and weak responses unrelated to the time course of itching. Capsaicin injections activated four of six mechano-responsive fibers and three of four mechano-insensitive C-fibers. Cowhage and histamine activate distinctly different nonoverlapping populations of C-fibers while inducing similar sensations of itch. We hypothesize that cowhage activates a pathway for itch that originates peripherally from superficial mechano-responsive (polymodal) Cfibers and perhaps other afferent units. It is distinct from the pathway for histamine-mediated pruritus and does not involve the histamine-sensitive mechano-insensitive fibers.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=55049133583&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=55049133583&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1152/jn.90482.2008

DO - 10.1152/jn.90482.2008

M3 - Article

VL - 100

SP - 2062

EP - 2069

JO - Journal of Neurophysiology

JF - Journal of Neurophysiology

SN - 0022-3077

IS - 4

ER -