Reactions to intradermally injected substance P and topically applied mustard oil in atopic dermatitis patients.
Heyer G, Hornstein OP, Handwerker HO
Skin reactions and itch or burning pain sensations following intradermal injection of the neuropeptide substance P and topical application of the substance P releasing agent mustard oil were studied in 20 atopic dermatitis patients and 20 healthy controls. Changes in skin blood flow were measured with a Laser Doppler flowmeter. Areas of wheal and flare reactions were evaluated planimetrically. Simultaneous with Laser Doppler flowmeter measurements, subjective itch and burning pain ratings were verbally reported on a category partitioning scale at 10-second intervals. Substance P evoked dose-dependent wheal, flare, and itch reactions in both patients and controls. However, substance P doses of 10(-9) -10(-11) mol elicited smaller flares in patients than in the controls whereas the wheal sizes were similar in both groups. Substance P-induced itch ratings were lower in patients at a dose of 10(-10) mol, and the onset of itching was delayed at all substance P levels applied. Mustard oil elicited similar neurogenic inflammatory reactions in both groups, although pain sensations were significantly delayed in atopic dermatitis patients at two mustard oil concentrations, which is further indication of a desensitization of afferent nerve endings contributing to the neurogenic inflammatory reactions in the skin of these patients.