This Study May Help Us Stop Itching Someday
Scientists find nerve cells devoted to making mice scratch
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 2:17 PM CDT
Updated Apr 27, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Next time you're scratching an itch, don't blame the mosquito, the bedbug, the poison ivy, or whatever else caused it. Instead, turn your ire on MrgprA3. As Scientific American explains, that's the name of a newly discovered nerve receptor that apparently has one job—to make us itch. Or at least to make mice itch. When Johns Hopkins researchers turned off the receptors in mice and then exposed them to itchy stuff, the mice did not scratch.

"Our current study has shown experimentally for the first time the existence of itch-specific nerves," says one of the researchers. Assuming this is found to apply to humans as well, the Baltimore Sun notes a big potential upside: Some life-saving drugs have a side effect of chronic itching, so much so that people stop taking them. The finding raises the possibility of developing drugs to block the itch receptors.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
right2dave
May 2, 2013 1:02 AM CDT
My mouse itches?
Chatsworth
Apr 28, 2013 10:08 AM CDT
Itching sucks,but it may warn us of certain serious medical conditions,just as pain does.
Perotstheman
Apr 28, 2013 6:16 AM CDT
For several years now somewhere around late Sept. I get an itching condition on the topside of my forearm just below the elbow crease that is MADDENING ! I can scratch until I bleed. Sometimes gently rubbing it for an hour will let me get to sleep and sometimes pulling the hair on my arm will bring TEMPORARY relief. It is not a topical condition and nothing that I have applied topically has worked. Aspercreme helps a little but I HAVE gotten relief from simple antihistimine drugs. Allegra D has been the best and Claritin works fairly well too.I fear the introduction of yet another miracle pill that alleviates ONE thing and has the potential side-effects of 6-8 other conditions that usually seem even more sinister than the condition itself. Big drug companies have gotten way out of control with all these medicines. Beware ! Try the simple stuff and YES, even sometimes, home remedies that are generations old and work much to the chagrin of the Pharma wizards. It could bring relief and leave the rest of your system safe at the same time !!