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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Apr 2022 - 15 Apr 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2022 Jan-Jul

Neurobiol Pain


Capsaicin suppresses interleukin-31-induced itching partially involved in inhibiting the expression of dorsal root ganglion interleukin-31 receptor A in male mice.


To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the antipruritic effect of capsaicin, we investigated how topical application of capsaicin (0.01, 0.1 and 1.0% w/v) affects spontaneous scratching in NC/Nga mice, inerleukin-31 (IL-31) induced in BALB/c mice, and IL-31 receptor A (IL-31RA) and transient receptor potential vanilloid member 1 (TRPV1) mRNA expression in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Capsaicin concentration-dependently suppressed long-lasting scratching (over 1.0 s, itch-associated scratching) and short-lasting scratching (0.3-1.0 s, locomotor activity) immediately after the application. Total long-lasting scratching and short-lasting scratching counts for 24 h and IL-31RA mRNA expression in the DRG significantly decreased with increasing concentration of capsaicin. Furthermore, 1.0% capsaicin suppressed long-lasting scratching and short-lasting scratching for more than 72 h. At this point, DRG IL-31RAmRNA was significantly decreased, but there was no change in cutaneous IL-31RA and TRPV1 mRNA. Thus capsaicin suppresses long-lasting scratching by inhibiting IL-31RA mRNA expression in the DRG. Next, we examined the effect of capsaicin on IL-31-induced long-lasting scratching in BALB/c mice. Repeated administration of IL-31 (50 μg/kg, subcutaneous) every 12 h for 3 days apparently increased long-lasting scratching counts and IL-31RA mRNA in the DRG. These increases were significantly suppressed by pretreatment with 1.0% capsaicin. TRPV1 mRNA in the DRG was also decreased within 1-24 h after capsaicin application. These results suggest that the strong and prolonged antipruritic action for IL-31-induced itching of capsaicin was caused by desensitization of C-fibers, and, in addition, the long-lasting inhibition of IL-31RA mRNA expression in the DRG.