Publication Date

2019-08-30

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2021-08-29

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Neuroscience (Medicine)

Date of Defense

2019-06-19

First Committee Member

Tasuku Akiyama

Second Committee Member

Sari Izenwasser

Third Committee Member

Stephen D. Roper

Fourth Committee Member

Marjana Tomic-Canic

Fifth Committee Member

Glenn J. Giesler, Jr.

Abstract

Itch consists of both sensory and affective components. For chronic itch patients, the affective component of itch affects both quality of life (leading to psychological comorbidities) and disease prognosis (by promoting scratching of itchy skin). We found that acute and chronic itch stimuli induced anxiety-like behavior and increased activity (c-Fos expression) in the amygdala in adult male C57BL/6 mice. Itch stimuli also increased activity in projection areas to the amygdala, suggesting that these regions form a circuit for affective itch processing. Selective optogenetic activation of histamine-responsive amygdala neurons in adult male and female Fos:CreERT2;R26Ai14 mice using the Targeted Recombination in Active Populations system enhanced both scratching and anxiety-like behavior. These results highlight the importance of itch-responsive amygdala neurons in modulating itch-related affect and behavior.

Keywords

itch; pruritus; anxiety; stress; optogenetics

Available for download on Sunday, August 29, 2021

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