Article

Topical cholecystokinin depresses itch-associated scratching behavior in mice.

Department of Dermatology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Impact Factor: 6.19). 02/2011; 131(4):956-61. DOI:10.1038/jid.2010.413
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cholecystokinin (CCK) serves as a gastrointestinal hormone and also functions as a neuropeptide in the central nervous system (CNS). CCK may be a downregulator in the CNS, as represented by its anti-opioid properties. The existence of CCK in the peripheral nervous system has also been reported. We investigated the suppressive effects of various CCKs on peripheral pruritus in mice. The clipped backs of ICR mice were painted with CCK synthetic peptides and injected intradermally with substance P (SP). The frequency of SP-induced scratching was reduced significantly by topical application of sulfated CCK8 (CCK8S) and CCK7 (CCK7S), but not by nonsulfated CCK8, CCK7, or CCK6. Dermal injection of CCK8S also suppressed the scratching frequency, suggesting that dermal cells as well as epidermal keratinocytes (KCs) are the targets of CCKs. As determined using real-time PCR, mRNA for CCK2R, one of the two types of CCK receptors, was expressed highly in mouse fetal skin-derived mast cells (FSMCs) and moderately in ICR mouse KCs. CCK8S decreased in vitro compound 48/80-promoted degranulation of FSMCs with a transient elevation of the intracellular calcium concentration. These findings suggest that CCK may exert an antipruritic effect via mast cells and that topical CCK may be clinically useful for pruritic skin disorders.

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