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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jul 2023 - 7 Jul 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Jul 01



Microglia are involved in regulating histamine-dependent and non-dependent itch transmissions with distinguished signal pathways.


Yang Y, Mou B, Zhang QR, Zhao HX, Zhang JY, Yun X, Xiong MT, Liu Y, Liu YU, Pan H, Ma CL, Li BM, Peng J


Although itch and pain have many similarities, they are completely different in perceptual experience and behavioral response. In recent years, we have a deep understanding of the neural pathways of itch sensation transmission. However, there are few reports on the role of non-neuronal cells in itch. Microglia are known to play a key role in chronic neuropathic pain and acute inflammatory pain. It is still unknown whether microglia are also involved in regulating the transmission of itch sensation. In the present study, we used several kinds of transgenic mice to specifically deplete CX3CR1+ microglia and peripheral macrophages together (whole depletion), or selectively deplete microglia alone (central depletion). We observed that the acute itch responses to histamine, compound 48/80 and chloroquine were all significantly reduced in mice with either whole or central depletion. Spinal c-fos mRNA assay and further studies revealed that histamine and compound 48/80, but not chloroquine elicited primary itch signal transmission from DRG to spinal Npr1- and somatostatin-positive neurons relied on microglial CX3CL1-CX3CR1 pathway. Our results suggested that microglia were involved in multiple types of acute chemical itch transmission, while the underlying mechanisms for histamine-dependent and non-dependent itch transmission were different that the former required the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 signal pathway.