Itching study finds gene that makes us scratch 搔癢研究發現令人搔癢的基因

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 - Page 10

They were able to turn off the urge in mice while leaving the animals’ other senses, such as touch and temperature, intact.

It is hoped that a deeper understanding of itching could eventually lead to therapies for patients with chronic itching.

The study was published in the journal Science.

The team at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the US National Institutes of Health, bred mice that were unable to produce a gene called NPPB (natriuretic peptide B). It is a small signaling molecule that allows brain cells to communicate with each other.

Mice without the molecule looked and acted like other mice, except “when we exposed the mice to several itch-inducing substances, it was amazing to watch, nothing happened, the mice wouldn’t scratch.”

Injections of NPPB into a mouse’s spinal cord made them scratch.

(Liberty Times)

它們可以關閉老鼠的強烈慾望,但老鼠的其他感官,例如觸覺與體溫,仍可完好無損。

學界希望,對癢更深層的了解,最終可促成慢性癢病患的療法。

這份研究刊登在《科學》期刊。

隸屬美國國家衛生研究院的「國家牙齒與顱顏研究所」團隊,飼育不能製造一種名為「NPPB」化學物質的老鼠。這是一種可讓大腦細胞互相溝通的微小化學訊號物質。

沒有這種化學物質的老鼠,外觀與行動都像其他老鼠,但當「我們把這種老鼠暴露在多種致癢物質下時,很驚訝地發現,什麼事情都不會發生,這種老鼠不會抓(癢)」。

將NPPB注射到老鼠的脊髓,即可讓牠們抓癢。

(自由時報/翻譯:自由時報國際新聞中心)