Neuropeptide Involved in Transmitting Itch Signal in Eczema Identified

Summary: Researchers implicate the neuropeptide NPPB in generating the itching sensation symptomatic of eczema.

Source: North Carolina State University.

Researchers from North Carolina State University have pinpointed a particular neuropeptide associated with transmitting itch signals in mice with atopic dermatitis. The work sheds further light on the pathways involved in transmitting itch sensations from the peripheral (skin) to the central (spinal cord) nervous system.

“You can think of itch being transmitted from the skin to the brain as a series of switches that get flipped,” says Santosh Mishra, assistant professor of neuroscience at NC State. “The signal goes from neuronal projections in the skin through the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) – which are clusters of sensory cells located at the root of the spinal nerves – then to the spinal cord. We’re interested in finding out how the portion of this pathway from DRG to spinal cord works in terms of signaling itchiness in chronic skin disease.”

Atopic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes persistent itching. Mishra and his team looked at a protein, or cytokine, called interleukin-31 (IL-31), which is overproduced in patients with atopic dermatitis and is involved in triggering itch response.

“We know that when IL-31 binds to the receptor present on neuronal projections in the skin, those neurons signal a subset of neurons in the DRG called the TRPV-1, which then signal the spinal cord,” Mishra says. “We wanted to figure out which neuropeptide was involved in the ‘switch’ between the DRG and the spinal cord.”

a man scratching
Atopic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes persistent itching. image is in the public domain.

The team looked at the neuropeptide Natriuretic polypeptide B (NPPB), which is released by TRPV-1 neurons in the DRG when IL-31 binds to receptors in the skin. To test whether NPPB was involved in itch signaling to the spinal cord, Mishra and his team used IL-31 to trigger itchiness in mice. They compared wild-type mice to mice without NPPB receptors and mice that could not produce NPPB. They found that itching decreased by 70 to 80 percent in mice without the neuropeptide NPPB or its receptor, indicating that NPPB did play a role in the itch-signaling pathway.

“Our work shows that NPBB does act on the neurons in the spinal cord, and that it plays an important role in this signaling pathway,” Mishra says. “Our next steps will be to build on this work, because the neurons that express NPBB can express more than one neuropeptide. Perhaps we will be able to identify another receptor involved in the link between the peripheral and central nervous system for chronic itch associated with eczema.”

About this neuroscience research article

The research appears in Acta Dermato-Venereologica. Mishra is corresponding author. NC State postdoctoral scholar Saumitra Pitake, research technician Jennifer DeBrecht, and William Peace College undergraduate Patrick Ralph also contributed to the work.

Source: Julia Wandt – North Carolina State University
Publisher: Organized by
Image Source: image is in the public domain.
Original Research: The study will appear in Acta Dermato-Venereology.

Cite This Article

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]North Carolina State University “Neuropeptide Involved in Transmitting Itch Signal in Eczema Identified.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 13 June 2018.
<>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]North Carolina State University (2018, June 13). Neuropeptide Involved in Transmitting Itch Signal in Eczema Identified. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 13, 2018 from[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]North Carolina State University “Neuropeptide Involved in Transmitting Itch Signal in Eczema Identified.” (accessed June 13, 2018).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]

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  1. The newest research shed light on this subject. eczema is actually caused by a minivi=virus with bacterial components. The sample has to be examined right away under the microscope and yes biofilms from staph aureus bacteria will be visible. Sending will lose the proof as the fungal/yeast (different fermentation status) dries up quickly in removed samples. Just look at giant mini viruses. So many incurable diseases are represented in this large scientific proof. The itch is not in the head either, neither is shingles which is also a severe form of impetigo which is also staph aureus causing this.. The actual start of this a long time ago was chickens/chicken pox, followed by vaccines that contain E coli including the shingle vaccine. In the animal kingdom it is coccidiosis which is parasistic and both fungal (yeast /depending on stage) and bacterial components Actually impetigo is itchy (yes I had 2 times) but diagnosed as shingles (never painful). Not surprising having a sore lung on both occasions and yes was diagnosed with chlamydophila C pneumonia chronic and active when having that so called shingle rash. This pneumonia is also fungal (not suprising) Even more disturbing is that this pneumonia is caused by staphylococcus aureus. Most likely the kDa 34 band and it is a community acquired pneumonia with the mycoplasma connection proteins of adhesion N terminal 39 kDA of N terminal of mycoplasma.

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