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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 25

Mamm Genome


The COL6A5-p.Glu2272* mutation induces chronic itch in mice.


Rasheed AAB, Birling MC, Lauria G, Gaveriaux-Ruff C, Herault Y


Pruritus is a common irritating sensation that provokes the desire to scratch. Environmental and genetic factors contribute to the onset of pruritus. Moreover, itch can become a major burden when it becomes chronic. Interestingly, the rare Collagen VI alpha 5 (COL6A5) gene variant p.Glu2272* has been identified in two families and an independent patient with chronic neuropathic itch. These patients showed reduced COL6A5 expression in skin and normal skin morphology. However, little progress has been made until now toward understanding the relationships between this mutation and chronic itch. Therefore, we developed the first mouse model that recapitulates COL6A5-p.Glu2272* mutation using the CRISPR-Cas technology and characterized this new mouse model. The mutant mRNA, measured by RT-ddPCR, was expressed at normal levels in dorsal root ganglia and was decreased in skin. The functional exploration showed effects of the mutation with some sex dysmorphology. Mutant mice had increased skin permeability. Elevated spontaneous scratching and grooming was detected in male and female mutants, with increased anxiety-like behavior in female mutants. These results suggest that the COL6A5-p.Glu2272* mutation found in patients contributes to chronic itch and induces in mice additional behavioral changes. The COL6A5-p.Glu2272* mouse model could elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying COL6A5 role in itch and help identify potential new therapeutic targets.