Content » Vol 91, Issue 5

Investigative Report

Validation of a Model of Itch Induction for Brain Positron Emission Tomography Studies Using Histamine Iontophoresis

Laure Bergeret, David Black, Jennifer Theunis, Laurent Misery, Nicolas Chauveau, Florent Aubry, Hélène Gros, Gérard Viallard, Pierre Celsis
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1067


Skin-brain signalling in itch reactions has been demonstrated with neuroimaging techniques showing specific brain activation. With positron emission tomography (PET), the itch model used must be adapted to technical and practical constraints. The technique of itch induction by histamine iontophoresis enables modulation of the sensation via the electrical charge applied. This itch model was validated on normal forearm skin of 56 subjects, with itch visual analogue scores peaking to approximately 1.0 cm after 3–4 min, falling to 0.2 cm at 15 min, with no influence of sex, zone, or order. Subsequently, the model was used in a PET study on 14 male volunteers, comparing histamine with physiological saline (control). The results show that the brain is able to discriminate these two conditions, with activated areas similar to those described previously, with, in addition, the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula being positively correlated with the intensity of the sensation.


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