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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Mar 2022 - 11 Mar 2022


Front Neural Circuits


The Spino-Parabrachial Pathway for Itch.


Piyush Shah D, Barik A
Front Neural Circuits. 2022; 16:805831.
PMID: 35250493.


Itch-induced scratching is an evolutionarily conserved behavioral response that protects organisms from potential parasites/irritants in their immediate vicinity. How the exposure to a pruritogen is translated to the perception of itch and how that perception drives scratching directed towards the site of exposure remains poorly understood. In this review, we focus on the recent findings that shed light on the neural pathways in the brain that underlie itch-induced scratching. We compare the molecularly defined itch pathways with the known pain circuits as they have anatomical and functional overlap. We review the roles played by the neurons in the spinoparabrachial pathway-comprising of the neurons in the spinal cord and the parabrachial nucleus (PBN), which acts as a hub for transmitting itch information across the brain. Lastly, we deliberate on scratching as a behavioral measure of the intensity of itch and its implication in unraveling the underlying supraspinal mechanisms. In summary, we provide a resource on the recent advances and discuss a path forward on our understanding of the neural circuits for itch.