A group of researchers from the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research have been able to found a substance that passes on sensation of itching from skin to brain.
The study, published in the journal Science, is expected to give birth to new line of treatments of chronic itching problems like eczema.
Mark Hoon, lead investigator, said the neurotransmitter natriuretic polypeptide b (Nppb) is the one, which transmits signal between nerve cells. "Our work shows that itch, once thought to be a low-level form of pain, is a distinct sensation that is uniquely hardwired into the nervous system with the biochemical equivalent", said Hoon.
Hoon continued by affirming that for a number of people, itching is not a big problem. But for many others, who have been living poor quality life due to chronic scratching. Itching can range from long term skin problems like psoriasis and eczema to scabies and just dry skin.
Experiment was carried out on laboratory mice, said Hoon. These mice were genetically modified so that they do not have the gene to make the Nppb protein. Absence of the same made the mice unable to respond to itching sensation.