What causes itch in atopic dermatitis?

Departments of Dermatology and Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.
Current Allergy and Asthma Reports (Impact Factor: 2.75). 08/2008; 8(4):306-11. DOI: 10.1007/s11882-008-0049-z
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Itch, the hallmark of atopic dermatitis, has a significant impact on quality of life for patients with this disease. Various central and peripheral mediators have been suggested to play a role in the pathophysiology of atopic eczema itch. Significant cross-talk occurs among stratum corneum, keratinocytes, immune cells, and nerve fibers, which are in close proximity to one another and induce itch. The impaired barrier function associated with the itch-scratch cycle further augments this vicious cycle. Recent advances in our understanding of itch pathophysiology shed light on peripheral and central neural sensitization of nerve fibers that contribute significantly to itch in atopic dermatitis. Recently, several new mediators have been described as associated with itch in atopic dermatitis, including serine proteases, interleukin 31, and nerve growth factor. This review covers the peripheral and central mechanisms and mediators involved in pathogenesis of itch in atopic dermatitis.

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