EDITOR'S CHOICE IN CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
C.E. Ramsden et al., “A systems approach for discovering linoleic acid derivatives that potentially mediate pain and itch,” Sci Signal, doi:10.1126/scisignal.aal5241, 2017.
Pluses and Minuses
Linoleic acid, also known as omega-6 fatty acid—abundant in many vegetable and seed oils—is essential for forming our skin’s waxy, waterproof barrier, and has become an increasingly common component of modern Western diets. Research has linked it to pain and chronic headaches, and Christopher Ramsden, a nutrition researcher at the National Institute on Aging, wanted to know why.
Scratching the Itch
Ramsden and colleagues explored eight linoleic acid derivatives in human and rat skin. They prospected for the compounds in inflamed psoriatic skin lesions in humans, and injected them into mice to see if they would...