Mechanisms Underlying the Scratching Behavior Induced by the Activation of Proteinase-Activated Receptor-4 in Mice

Eliziane S Patricio, Robson Costa, Claudia P Figueiredo, Katharina Gers-Barlag, Maíra A Bicca, Marianne N Manjavachi, Gabriela C Segat, Clive Gentry, Ana P Luiz, Elizabeth S Fernandes, Thiago M Cunha, Stuart Bevan, João B Calixto

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17 Citations (Scopus)


A role for proteinase-activated receptor-4 (PAR-4) was recently suggested in itch sensation. Here, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the pruriceptive actions of the selective PAR-4 agonist AYPGKF-NH2 (AYP) in mice. Dorsal intradermal (i.d.) administration of AYP elicited intense scratching behavior in mice, which was prevented by the selective PAR-4 antagonist (pepducin P4pal-10). PAR-4 was found to be coexpressed in 32% of tryptase-positive skin mast cells, and AYP caused a 2-fold increase in mast cell degranulation. However, neither the treatment with cromolyn nor the deficiency of mast cells (WBB6F1-Kit(W/Wv) mice) was able to affect AYP-induced itch. PAR-4 was also found on gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP)-positive neurons (pruriceptive fibers), and AYP-induced itch was reduced by the selective GRP receptor antagonist RC-3095. In addition, AYP evoked calcium influx in ∼1.5% of cultured DRG neurons also sensitive to TRPV1 (capsaicin) and/or TRPA1 (AITC) agonists. Importantly, AYP-induced itch was reduced by treatment with either the selective TRPV1 (SB366791), TRPA1 (HC-030031), or NK1 (FK888) receptor antagonists. However, genetic loss of TRPV1, but not of TRPA1, diminished AYP-induced calcium influx in DRG neurons and the scratching behavior in mice. These findings provide evidence that PAR-4 activation by AYP causes pruriceptive itch in mice via a TRPV1/TRPA1-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2484-91
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


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