Although touch and itch are coded by distinct neuronal populations, light touch also provokes itch in the presence of exogenous pruritogens, resulting in a phenomenon called alloknesis. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the initiation of pruritogen-induced mechanical itch sensitization are poorly understood. Here, we show that intradermal injections of histamine or chloroquine (CQ) provoke alloknesis through activation of TRPV1- and MrgprA3-expressing prurioceptors, and functional ablation of these neurons reverses pruritogen-induced alloknesis. Moreover, genetic ablation of mechanosensitive Piezo2 channel function from MrgprA3-expressing prurioceptors also dampens pruritogen-induced alloknesis. Mechanistically, histamine and CQ sensitize Piezo2 channel function, at least in part, through activation of the phospholipase C (PLC) and protein kinase C-δ (PKCδ) signaling. Collectively, our data find a TRPV1+/MrgprA3+ prurioceptor-Piezo2 signaling axis in the initiation of pruritogen-induced mechanical itch sensitization in the skin.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112283
JournalCell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 25 2023


  • CP: Neuroscience
  • PKCδ
  • PLC
  • Piezo2
  • alloknesis
  • pruriceptor
  • pruritogens


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