Itching has long puzzled neuroscientists. They have spent decades looking for itch-specific neurons to explain how the brain perceives itch differently from other forms of pain, but only now has the search yielded a clear answer. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis have discovered itch-specific neurons in mice and shown that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord , Financial Times reports.
Meanwhile, a team from Washington University found itch and pain signals seem to be transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord.
The study, published online by the journal Science, raises hopes of new treatments for itching , BBC News reports.
"We've shown that particular neurons are critical for the itching sensation but not for pain, which means those cells may contain several itch-specific receptors or signaling molecules that can be explored or identified as targets for future treatment or management of chronic itching." ,Reuters reports.