Neurons involved in pain processing have been the subject of much research in the past decades, but neurons responsible for a more pesky problem -- itchy skin -- remain elusive. In fact, many neurons seem to be involved in itch response, a process closely linked to the processing of pain in the brain, researchers reported today at the linkurl:annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience,;http://www.sfn.org/am2008/ in Washington, D.C. To find which neurons were responsible for the itching response Glenn Giesler from the University of Minnesota and his colleagues tracked the projection of spinalthalamic neurons activated by itching stimuli to the posterior thalamus -- a brain region to which pain-sensing neurons are thought to project. To trigger a response in itch neurons, the researchers exposed monkeys to two types of itch stimuli on their hands: a histamine injection, and a plant called cowhage, which causes a six-minute itchy reaction if smeared...
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