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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Nov 2019 - 8 Nov 2019

Animal Studies


2019 Nov 01

Sci Rep



Pain Inhibits GRPR Neurons via GABAergic Signaling in the Spinal Cord.


Bardoni R, Shen K-F, Li H, Jeffry J, Barry DM, Comitato A, Li Y-Q, Chen Z-F
Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 01; 9(1):15804.
PMID: 31676846.


It has been known that algogens and cooling could inhibit itch sensation; however, the underlying molecular and neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the spinal neurons expressing gastrin releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) primarily comprise excitatory interneurons that receive direct and indirect inputs from C and Aδ fibers and form contacts with projection neurons expressing the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R). Importantly, we show that noxious or cooling agents inhibit the activity of GRPR neurons via GABAergic signaling. By contrast, capsaicin, which evokes a mix of itch and pain sensations, enhances both excitatory and inhibitory spontaneous synaptic transmission onto GRPR neurons. These data strengthen the role of GRPR neurons as a key circuit for itch transmission and illustrate a spinal mechanism whereby pain inhibits itch by suppressing the function of GRPR neurons.