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Papers of the Week

2021 May 27

Behav Brain Res

Differential roles of prelimbic and anterior cingulate cortical region in the modulation of histaminergic and non-histaminergic itch.


Li X, Yao J, Hu K-H, Wu B, Sui J-F, Gao J, Wu G-Y, Liu S-L
Behav Brain Res. 2021 May 27:113388.
PMID: 34052263.


Itch is an unpleasant sensation that evokes a desire to scratch. Itch processing in the peripheral and spinal cord has been studied extensively, but the mechanism of itch in the central nervous system is still unclear. Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and prelimbic cortex (Prl), two subregions of the prefrontal cortex closely related to emotion and motivation, have been reported to be activated during itching in a series of functional imaging studies. However, the exact role of Prl and the differences between ACC and Prl in itch modulation remains unknown. To directly test the differential roles of ACC and Prl in itch processing, we chemogeneticlly inhibited the caudal ACC and Prl, respectively. We found that inhibition of caudal ACC reduced histaminergic but not non-histaminergic itch-induced scratching behaviors. In contrast, inhibition of Prl reduced both histaminergic and non-histaminergic itch-induced scratching behaviors. Our study provided direct evidence of Prl involvement in itch modulation and revealed the differential roles of caudal ACC and Prl in regulating histaminergic and non-histaminergic itch.