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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Dec 2020 - 11 Dec 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development


2020 Dec 10

Handb Exp Pharmacol

Antipruritic Effects of Kappa Opioid Receptor Agonists: Evidence from Rodents to Humans.



Centrally administered bombesin induces scratching and grooming in rats. These behaviors were blocked by early benzomorphan kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonists as reported by Gmerek and Cowan in 1984. This was the first evidence that KORs may be involved in the sensation of itch-like behaviors. Subsequent development of additional animal models for acute and chronic itch has led to important discoveries since then. For example, it was found that (a) gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), natriuretic polypeptide b and their cognate receptors are keys for the transmission of itch sensation at the spinal cord level, (b) dynorphins (Dyns), the endogenous KOR agonists, work as inhibitory neuromodulators of itch at the spinal cord level, (c) in a mouse model for acute itch, certain KOR antagonists elicit scratching, (d) in mouse models of acute or chronic itch, KOR agonists (e.g., U50,488, nalfurafine, CR 845, nalbuphine) suppress scratching induced by different pruritogens, and (e) nalfurafine, CR 845, and nalbuphine are in the clinic or in clinical trials for pruritus associated with chronic kidney disease and chronic liver disease, as well as pruritus in chronic skin diseases.