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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Dec 2022 - 16 Dec 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Dec 15

J Clin Invest

Mechanisms and treatments of neuropathic itch in a mouse model of lymphoma.


Chen O, He Q, Han Q, Furutani K, Gu Y, Olexa M, Ji R-R
J Clin Invest. 2022 Dec 15.
PMID: 36520531.


Our understanding of neuropathic itch is limited, due to the lack of relevant animal models. Patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) suffer from severe itching. Here we characterize a mouse model of chronic itch with remarkable lymphoma growth, immune cell accumulation, and persistent pruritus. Intradermal CTCL inoculation produces time-dependent changes in nerve innervations in lymphoma-bearing skin. In the early-phase (20 days), CTCL causes hyper-innervations in the epidermis. However, chronic itch is associated with loss of epidermal nerve fibers in the late-phases (40 and 60 days). CTCL is also characterized by marked nerve innervations in mouse lymphoma. Blockade of C-fibers reduced pruritus at early- and late-phases, whereas blockade of A-fibers only suppressed late-phase itch. Intrathecal gabapentin injection reduced late-phase but not early-phase pruritus. IL-31 is upregulated in mouse lymphoma, while its receptor Il31ra was persistently upregulated in Trpv1-expressing sensory neurons in CTCL mice. Intratumoral anti-IL-31 treatment effectively suppressed CTCL-induced scratching and alloknesis (mechanical itch). Finally, intrathecal administration of TLR4 antagonist attenuated pruritus in early and late phases and in both sexes. Collectively, we have established a mouse model of neuropathic and cancer itch with relevance to human disease. Our findings also suggest distinct mechanisms underlying acute, chronic, and neuropathic itch.