Inproceedings: An article in a conference proceedings.
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The Role of Skin Opioid Receptor System in Itch
Title of the conference
5th International Workshop for the Study of Itch
Chinzan-so, Tokyo, October 25-28, 2009
Opioid receptors are key players in induction of chronic itch. This could be confirmed using opiate receptor knockout mice experiments and clinical studies on patients with chronic itch. We have induced a dry skin dermatitis as a model for chronic itching on -(MOR) and -(KOR) opioid receptor knockout (KO) mice. MOR KO mice scratched significantly less than wild type (WT). Additionally the epidermal hypertrophy caused by chronic dermatitis and the amount of epidermal nerve endings in MOR KO mice were significantly decreased than in WT mice. KOR KO mice showed similar scratching behavior as MOR KO mice; however the changes were less significant. In addition, we performed a double blind, placebo controlled, cross over study using topically applied opioid receptor antagonist, Naltrexone, on patients with pruritus in atopic dermatitis. The results revealed significant effects of the topical application of Naltrexone in patients with chronic pruritus (45% improvement of pruritus by VAS compared to placebo, n=24), but not in patients with acute pruritus (7%, n=15). These studies establish the clinical relevance of MOR system and the peripheral, epidermal nerve endings in chronic pruritus and warrant further research and therapeutic potential for such research.
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