The itchiness It is one of the most annoying sensations that we can feel.
Whether by bites of insects, allergies or diseases like chickenpox, itching does not have to be an indicator of serious conditions; in fact in the vast majority of cases it is not, but that does not mean that it ceases to be a true nuisance.
There are some ointmentsand other medications that calm him down a bit, but at the moment none of them has managed to completely eliminate the desire we feel for scratch and scratch until the feeling disappears. However, a group of Duke University researchers, in the United States, has found what could be the molecular cause of itching And, if they are right, the cure may be closer than it seems.
What is itch?
What a strange question, isn't it? Everyone knows what itch is, because we have all experienced it; but why is it? Basically the itch is a Defense mechanism of our organism, similar to pain.
I explain. When we stick a needle into a finger, we quickly pull our hand away, so that we put distance between us and the pain-causing agent.
If what happens is that an insect bites us or we rub against a plant to which we have an allergy, we will quickly tend to scratch us, to totally eliminate what could be left on our skin from the agent that caused itching.
The mechanisms that cause pain in the body are quite well known, and for this reason, there are many medications that can efficiently calm it down. However, despite the similarity, itching does not occur in exactly the same way. In fact, they can be considered antagonistic events, because the fastest way to calm the itch is with the pain scratching us.
TRPV4, the protein that could provide the cure for itching
In search of physiological bases of itching, these researchers decided to delve into the function of some proteins associated also with painful processes. After several attempts, they turned their attention to TRPV4, a protein from start channel associated with pain caused by exposure to the skin ultraviolet radiation. Pain signals are emitted through the production of a substance, called endothelin-1, which is also associated with the sensation of burning and itching, so the relationship between this protein and itching seems clear.
To be sure, they took a group of rats and subjected them to treatment with chemicals causing itching. Immediately, large amounts of endothelin-1 were produced and, furthermore, if the sensitivity from these rodents to TRPV4, the itching stopped.
This discovery is decisive, because understanding in depth the Itchy molecular pathways treatments in the form of ointment that they directly inhibit the root of the problem, instead of calming it down, as current medications do.
There is no doubt that it will be great news.