Significant differences in central imaging of histamine-induced itch between atopic dermatitis and healthy subjects.
ABSTRACT This is the first investigation of the central processing of itch in the brain in 8 subjects with atopic dermatitis (AD) in comparison to 6 healthy controls (HC), comparing histamine-induced itch related activations in the frontal, prefrontal, parietal, cingulate cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia and cerebellum.
We employed 1% histamine-dihydrochlorid-iontophoresis of the left hand, recorded H2(15)O-PET-scans and perception of itch intensity on a numeric rating scale.
There was no significant difference in perceived itch intensity between AD and HC. Significant increase in rCBF was found in HC in the contralateral somatosensory and motor cortex, midcingulate gyrus, and ipsilateral prefrontal cortex; in AD: in the contralateral thalamus, somatosensory, motor and prefrontal cortex and cerebellum, in the ipsilateral precentral, prefrontal, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, pallidum and cerebellum. More brain sites were activated in AD than in HC. Activation in AD was significantly higher in the contralateral thalamus, ipsilateral caudate and pallidum.
We interpret our findings as possible central correlates of changes in the motor system in subjects with chronic itch, with activation of the basal ganglia possibly correlating to the vicious itch-scratch-circle in subjects with chronic itching skin diseases. However, further neuroimaging studies in healthy subjects and also in different skin diseases are needed to understand the complex mechanisms of the processing of itch.
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ABSTRACT: Pruritus of End-Stage-Renal-Disease is a multifactorial symptom of complex etiology not yet fully understood. In this study we have investigated the cerebral perfusion patterns at rest in ESRD patients on hemodialysis, in comparison with healthy volunteers. We have also studied the brain responses evoked by experimental itch induction in ESRD, after stimulating the two distinct histamine and cowhage itch pathways, and compared them with the responses evoked in healthy volunteers. In order to identify potential structural alterations in ESRD patients in comparison with a group of age-matched healthy volunteers, we calculated the density of gray matter for the entire brain using a voxel-based morphometric analysis. Our results indicated that gray matter density was significantly reduced in ESRD patients in the frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital cortices, as well as in the S1, precuneus and insula, while the brainstem, hippocampus, amygdala, the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and nucleus accumbens displayed an increased gray matter density. Functionally, we found a significantly higher brain perfusion at baseline associated with ESRD pruritus in the anterior cingulate, insula, claustrum, hippocampus and nucleus accumbens. The brain responses evoked by cowhage itch, which are mediated by PAR2 receptors, displayed significant differences in comparison with healthy individuals and were correlated with perceived itch intensity in a dual, complex manner. The inverse correlations in particular suggested that a negative feedback mechanism modulated itch intensity, when elicited in a pre-existent chronic itch background.Journal of Neurophysiology 06/2014; 112(7). DOI:10.1152/jn.00827.2013 · 3.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic itch, a highly debilitating condition, has received relatively little attention in the neuroimaging literature. Recent studies suggest that brain regions supporting itch in chronic itch patients encompass sensorimotor and salience networks, and corticostriatal circuits involved in motor preparation for scratching. However, how these different brain areas interact with one another in the context of itch is still unknown. We acquired BOLD fMRI scans in 14 atopic dermatitis patients to investigate resting-state functional connectivity before and after allergen-induced itch exacerbated the clinical itch perception in these patients. A seed-based analysis revealed decreased functional connectivity from baseline resting state to the evoked-itch state between several itch-related brain regions, particularly the insular and cingulate cortices and basal ganglia, where decreased connectivity was significantly correlated with increased levels of perceived itch. In contrast, evoked itch increased connectivity between key nodes of the frontoparietal control network (superior parietal lobule and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), where higher increase in connectivity was correlated with a lesser increase in perceived itch, suggesting that greater interaction between nodes of this executive attention network serves to limit itch sensation via enhanced top-down regulation. Overall, our results provide the first evidence of itch-dependent changes in functional connectivity across multiple brain regions.
Article: Central mechanisms of itch.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Itch is a complex sensory and emotional experience. Functional brain imaging studies have been performed to identify brain regions associated with this complex experience, and these studies reported that several brain regions are activated by itch stimuli. The possible roles of these regions in itch perception and difference in cerebral mechanism between healthy subjects and chronic itch patients are discussed in this review article. Additionally, the central itch modulation system and cerebral mechanisms of contagious itch, pleasurable sensation evoked by scratching have also been investigated in previous brain imaging studies. We also discuss how these studies advance our understanding of these mechanisms. Copyright © 2014 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2014.11.019 · 3.12 Impact Factor