The Itch–Scratch Cycle: A Neuroimmune Perspective

Madison R. Mack, Brian S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Relentless, repetitive itching and scratching is a debilitating feature of many chronic inflammatory skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis. While well known clinically, this itch–scratch cycle has historically lacked in-depth mechanistic understanding. However, recent advances at the interface of itch neurobiology and skin immunology have shed new light on this phenomenon. In this review, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the neuroimmunology of chronic itch centered around three key points of entry into the itch–scratch cycle: the epithelial barrier, the immune system, and the peripheral nervous system. Furthermore, we explore novel neuro-epithelial-immune interactions that may represent promising therapeutic paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-991
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Immunology
Volume39
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • atopic dermatitis
  • cytokines
  • itch
  • neuroimmunity
  • proteases
  • scratch
  • skin barrier

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