Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine.

Abstract

β-Alanine, a popular supplement for muscle building, induces itch and tingling after consumption, but the underlying molecular and neural mechanisms are obscure. Here we show that, in mice, β-alanine elicited itch-associated behavior that requires MrgprD, a G-protein-coupled receptor expressed by a subpopulation of primary sensory neurons. These neurons exclusively innervate the skin, respond to β-alanine, heat, and mechanical noxious stimuli but do not respond to histamine. In humans, intradermally injected β-alanine induced itch but neither wheal nor flare, suggesting that the itch was not mediated by histamine. Thus, the primary sensory neurons responsive to β-alanine are likely part of a histamine-independent itch neural circuit and a target for treating clinical itch that is unrelieved by anti-histamines.

DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3509-12.2012
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@article{Liu2012MechanismsOI, title={Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine.}, author={Qin Liu and Parul Sikand and Chao Y. Ma and Zongxiang Tang and Liang Han and Zhe Li and Shuohao Sun and Robert H Lamotte and Xinzhong Dong}, journal={The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience}, year={2012}, volume={32 42}, pages={14532-7} }