BNP facilitates NMB-encoded histaminergic itch via NPRC-NMBR crosstalk

Qing Tao Meng, Xian Yu Liu, Xue Ting Liu, Juan Liu, Admire Munanairi, Devin M. Barry, Benlong Liu, Hua Jin, Yu Sun, Qianyi Yang, Fang Gao, Li Wan, Jiahang Peng, Jin Hua Jin, Kai Feng Shen, Ray Kim, Jun Yin, Ailin Tao, Zhou Feng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Histamine-dependent and -independent itch is conveyed by parallel peripheral neural pathways that express gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and neuromedin B (NMB), respectively, to the spinal cord of mice. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) has been proposed to transmit both types of itch via its receptor NPRA encoded by Npr1. However, BNP also binds to its cognate receptor, NPRC encoded by Npr3 with equal potency. Moreover, natriuretic peptides (NP) signal through the Gi-couped inhibitory cGMP pathway that is supposed to inhibit neuronal activity, raising the question of how BNP may transmit itch information. Here, we report that Npr3 expression in laminae I-II of the dorsal horn partially overlaps with NMB receptor (NMBR) that transmits histaminergic itch via Gq-couped PLCβ-Ca2+ signaling pathway. Functional studies indicate that NPRC is required for itch evoked by histamine but not chloroquine (CQ), a nonhistaminergic pruritogen. Importantly, BNP significantly facilitates scratching behaviors mediated by NMB, but not GRP. Consistently, BNP evoked Ca2+ responses in NMBR/NPRC HEK 293 cells and NMBR/NPRC dorsal horn neurons. These results reveal a previously unknown mechanism by which BNP facilitates NMB-encoded itch through a novel NPRC-NMBR cross-signaling in mice. Our studies uncover distinct modes of action for neuropeptides in transmission and modulation of itch in mice.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Dec 17 2021


  • BNP
  • GRP
  • NPRA
  • NPRC
  • itch
  • mouse
  • neuroscience
  • spinal cord


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