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Posterior Thalamic Nucleus Mediates Facial Histaminergic Itch
AAV- EGFP and AAV- EGFP were used as control. (From BrainVTA)
The viruses used from BrainVTA in this article are in the table below
Control  PT-0290 AAV2/8-CaMKIIα-EGFP
 PT-0108 AAV2/8-CaMKIIα-mCherry
Ya-Bing Zhu, Ling Xu, Yan Wang, Rui Zhang, Yu-Chen Wang, Jin-Bao Li, Di Mu
Pub Date: 2020-08-01, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.07.048, Email: [email protected]
Itch induces a desire to scratch and leads to skin damage in some severe conditions. Much progress has been made in the peripheral and spinal level, and recent findings suggested that we need to focus on the central circuitry mechanism. However, the functional role of the thalamus in itch signal processing remains largely unknown. We showed that the posterior thalamic nucleus (Po) played a vital role in modulating facial histaminergic itch signal processing. We found that the calcium signal of Po neurons was increased during the histaminergic itch-induced scratching behavior in the cheek model, and pharmacogenetic suppression of Po neurons reduced the scratching behaviors. Retrograde mapping results suggested that the Po receives information from the somatosensory cortex, motor cortex, parabrachial nucleus (PBN), the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus (PrV) and the spinal trigeminal nucleus (SpV), which participate in itch signal transmission from head and body. Thus, our study indicates that the Po is critical in modulating facial histaminergic itch signal processing.

Figure 1. The illustration of the in vivo fiber photometry recoridng in Po and histological confirmation.
The study is aimed to explore the functional role of the thalamus in itch signal processing. The authors used the in vivo fiber photometry recording to examine the calcium activity of the Po neurons in freely moving mice and directly inhibited Po neurons by pharmacogenetic manipulation. Furthermore, they used retrograde viral combined with reporter mice to explore the upstream brain areas of Po. Overall, they found that the Po modulates the facial histaminergic itch signal processing in mice.
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