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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Apr 2023 - 14 Apr 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Jan 20

Biochem Biophys Res Commun



GABAergic neurons in the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus and intergeniculate leaflet are involved in itch processing in mice.


Liang Y, Fan Z, Li J, Ma R, Zhang Y, Shi X, Zhu Y, Huang J


Itch and pain are two closely related sensations that receiving similar encodings at multiple levels. Accumulated evidences suggest that activation of the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus and intergeniculate leaflet (vLGN/IGL)-to-lateral and ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (l/vlPAG) projections mediates the antinociceptive effects of bright light therapy. Clinical study showed that bright light therapy may ameliorate cholestasis-induced pruritus. However, the underlying mechanism and whether this circuit participates in itch modulation remains unclear. In this study, chloroquine and histamine were utilized to induce acute itch models in mice. Neuronal activities in vLGN/IGL nucleus were evaluated with c-fos immunostaining as well as fiber photometry. Optogenetic manipulations were performed to activate or inhibit GABAergic neurons in the vLGN/IGL nucleus. Our results showed that the expressions of c-fos in vLGN/IGL were significantly increased upon both chloroquine- and histamine-induced acute itch stimuli. GABAergic neurons in vLGN/IGL were activated during histamine and chloroquine-induced scratching. Optogenetic activation of the vLGN/IGL GABAergic neurons exerts antipruritic effect, while inhibiting these neurons exerts pruritic effect. Our results provide evidence that GABAergic neurons in vLGN/IGL nucleus might play a crucial role in modulating itch, which may provide clue for application of bright light as an antipruritic treatment in clinic.