- Itch is a universally experienced sensation, and chronic itch can be as diabolically debilitating as pain. Recent advances have not only identified the neuronal itch sensing circuitry, but also have uncovered the intricate interactions between skin and immune cells that work together with neurons to identify itch-inducing irritants. In this review, we will summarize the fundamental mechanisms of acute itch detection in the skin, as well as highlight the recent discoveries relating to this topic.
- Itch is an unpleasant somatic sensation with the desire to scratch, and it consists of sensory, affective, and motivational components. Acute itch serves as a critical protective mechanism because an itch-evoked scratching response will help to remove harmful substances invading the skin. Recently, exciting progress has been made in deciphering the mechanisms of itch at both the peripheral nervous system and the CNS levels. Key neuronal subtypes and circuits have been revealed for ascending transmission and the descending modulation of itch.