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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Jan 2021 - 5 Feb 2021

Animal Studies


2021 Jan 29

Brain Behav Immun

Acupuncture ameliorates not only atopic dermatitis-like skin inflammation but also acute and chronic serotonergic itch possibly through blockade of 5-HT2 and 5-HT7 receptors in mice.


Acupuncture has been known to be effective for atopic dermatitis, especially ameliorating itch; however, its mechanisms are still unclear. The aim of this study was to test the anti-itch effects of acupuncture and to investigate its possible mechanisms. Acupuncture was performed at Gok-Ji (LI11) acupoints just before the injection of pruritogens in the mouse cheek model of acute itch and of MC903-induced atopic dermatitis displaying serotonergic chronic itch. Acupuncture significantly reduced acute itch triggered by compound 48/80, chloroquine, or especially serotonin. It also markedly reduced scratching behaviors evoked by the serotonin 5-HT2 receptor agonist α-methylserotonin and selective 5-HT7 receptor agonist LP 44. In addition, acupuncture treatment at LI11 had the preventive and therapeutic effects on persistent itch as well as the robust skin inflammation with epidermal thickening in mice with MC903-induced atopic dermatitis. It also considerably reduced the increased expression of 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B and 5-HT7 receptors in atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions in mice treated with MC903. Taken together, these findings highlight that acupuncture significantly ameliorates not only skin inflammation, but also acute and chronic serotonergic itch, possibly through blockade of serotonin 5-HT2 and 5-HT7 receptors.