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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Nov 2019 - 29 Nov 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2020 Jan

J Pharmacol Exp Ther



The Neuropeptide Y Y2 receptor is co-expressed with Nppb in primary afferent neurons and Y2 activation reduces histaminergic and IL-31-induced itch.


Ma H, Gao T, Jakobsson J, Weman H, Xu B, Larhammar D, Lagerström M
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2020 Jan; 372(1):73-82.
PMID: 31771994.


Itch stimuli are detected by specialized primary afferents, which convey the signal to the spinal cord, but how itch transmission is regulated is still incompletely known. Here, we investigated the roles of the neuropeptide Y (NPY)/Y2 receptor system on scratch behavior. The inhibitory Y2 receptor is expressed on mouse primary afferents and intrathecal administration of the Y2 agonist peptide YY (PYY)3-36 reduced scratch episode frequency and duration induced by compound 48/80, an effect that could be reversed by intrathecal pre-administration of the Y2 antagonist BIIE0246. Also, scratch episode duration induced by histamine could be reduced by PYY3-36. In contrast, scratch behavior induced by α-methyl-5HT, SLIGRL, chloroquine, topical dust mite extract, or mechanical itch induced by von Frey filaments was unaffected by stimulation of Y2. Primary afferent neurons expressing the Npy2r gene were found to co-express itch-associated markers such as natriuretic peptide precursor b, oncostatin M receptor and interleukin (IL) 31 receptor A. Accordingly, intrathecal PYY3-36 reduced the scratch behavior induced by IL-31. Our findings imply that the NPY/Y2 system reduces histaminergic and IL-31-associated itch through presynaptic inhibition of a subpopulation of itch-associated primary afferents. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The spinal neuropeptide Y system dampens scratching behavior induced by histaminergic compounds and interleukin 31, a cytokine involved in atopic dermatitis, through interactions with the Y2 receptor. The Y2 receptor is expressed by primary afferent neurons that are rich in itch-associated neurotransmitters and receptors such as somatostatin, natriuretic peptide precursor b and interlekin 31 receptors.