Pruritus or itching is an unpleasant sensation that provokes a desire to scratch. Many factors such as chemical, mechanical, thermal and electrical stimuli can elicit the itch sensation.1-5 Mediators of itch presumably directly act on nerve fibers or lead to a nerve stimulation cascade whose final common pathway is interpreted in the central nervous system as itching.2-6 Putative receptors for itching are C-fibers with exceptionally low conduction velocities and insensitivity to mechanical stimuli.4-6 Histamine, the proto-typical chemical mediator of itch, which is released during mast cell degranulation and mediates its effects in the skin via H1 receptor,3,5 is the best-known experimental pruritogen.2,3,5,7
December 23, 2005 | By: Hongbo Zhai, MD, and Howard I. Maibach, MD, University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine
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