Pruritus, including neuropathic and psychogenic pruritus, is an unpleasant feeling that causes a desire to scratch, which negatively impacts physical and psychological aspects of daily life. Nonetheless, little is known about the neural mechanisms involved in pruritus. Glutamate is a predominant excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system and exerts its effects by binding to various glutamate receptors, including kainate (KA) receptors; however, the precise involvement of each glutamate receptor in pruriceptive processing remains unclear, particularly that of KA receptors. Therefore, the roles of KA receptors in histamine-dependent and -independent itch were investigated using CNQX, an AMPA/KA receptors antagonist, UBP310 and UBP302, antagonists of KA receptors, and small interfering (si)RNAs against KA receptor subunits in mice with acute and chronic pruritus. The effects of KA receptor antagonists on histamine-induced c-Fos expression in the spinal cord were also examined. The intrathecal administration of CNQX reduced the number of scratching events induced by histamine and chloroquine. On the other hand, UBP310 or UBP302 and the siRNAs of KA receptor subunits 1-3 significantly inhibited the induction of scratching events in mice treated with histamine, while no significant change was observed in the induction of spontaneous scratching events in mice with chronic pruritus. In addition, antagonists of KA receptors attenuated c-Fos expression in the superficial layers of the dorsal horn induced by histamine. These results indicate that KA receptors are involved in acute pruriceptive processing in the spinal cord induced by histamine, but not chloroquine or chronic itch.