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The Sensation of Itch: From Biological Discovery to Medical Treatment

  • Tornike Mamuladze
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS), Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
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  • Brian S. Kim
    Correspondence
    Corresponding Author: Brian S. KimWashington University School of Medicine Department of Medicine/Division of Dermatology 660 S. Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8123 St. Louis, MO 63108St. Louis, MO 63108
    Affiliations
    Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS), Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

    Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

    Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

    Department of Anesthesiology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
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Published:November 17, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2021.10.023
      Itch is an evolutionarily conserved sensation in vertebrates and, in its acute form, elicits a scratching reflex to expel environmental irritants such as insects, parasites, and toxins. However, in its chronic form, itch becomes highly debilitating and pathologic. While originally considered a mild form of pain, the discovery of itch-specific molecular and cellular pathways in the last 15 years have greatly emboldened itch biology as a distinct field of inquiry (
      • Wang F.
      • Kim B.S.
      Itch: A Paradigm of Neuroimmune Crosstalk.
      ). Further, the unprecedented success of numerous therapeutics in this nascent field have drawn tremendous interest in solving the central symptom of itch across a number of medical disorders.
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