Content » Vol 95, Issue 2

Investigative Report

Nalfurafine Suppresses Pruritogen- and Touch-evoked Scratching Behavior in Models of Acute and Chronic Itch in Mice

Tasuku Akiyama, Mirela Iodi Carstens, Dorothea Piecha, Sonja Steppan, Earl Carstens
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1879


The kappa-opioid agonist, nalfurafine, has been approved in Japan for treatment of itch in patients with chronic kidney disease. We presently investigated if systemic administration of nalfurafine inhibited ongoing or touch-evoked scratching behavior (alloknesis) following acute intradermal injection of histamine or the non-histaminergic itch mediator, chloroquine, in mice. We also investigated if nalfurafine suppressed spontaneous or touch-evoked scratching in an experimental model of chronic dry skin itch. Nalfurafine reduced scratching evoked by histamine and chloroquine. Following acute histamine, but not chloroquine, low-threshold mechanical stimuli reliably elicited directed hindlimb scratching behavior, which was significantly attenuated by nalfurafine. In mice with experimental dry skin, nalfurafine abolished spontaneous scratching but had no effect on alloknesis. Nalfurafine thus appears to be a promising treatment for acute itch as well as ongoing itch of dry skin


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