Peripheral itch stimuli are transmitted by sensory neurons to the spinal cord dorsal horn, which then transmits the information to the brain. The molecular and cellular mechanisms within the dorsal horn for itch transmission have only been investigated and identified during the past ten years. This review covers the progress that has been made in identifying the peptide families in sensory neurons and the receptor families in dorsal horn neurons as putative itch transmitters, with a focus on gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP)—GRP receptor signaling. Also discussed are the signaling mechanisms, including opioids, by which various types of itch are transmitted and modulated, as well as the many conflicting results arising from recent studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroscience Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • DRG
  • GPCR signaling
  • Itch
  • Neuropeptides
  • Spinal cord


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