Visualizing the Itch-Sensing Skin Arbors

Yanyan Xing, Haley R. Steele, Henry B. Hilley, Yuyan Zhu, Katy Lawson, Taylor Niehoff, Liang Han

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Diverse sensory neurons exhibit distinct neuronal morphologies with a variety of axon terminal arborizations subserving their functions. Because of its clinical significance, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of itch are being intensely studied. However, a complete analysis of itch-sensing terminal arborization is missing. Using an MrgprC11CreERT2 transgenic mouse line, we labeled a small subset of itch-sensing neurons that express multiple itch-related molecules including MrgprA3, MrgprC11, histamine receptor H1, IL-31 receptor, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1F, natriuretic precursor peptide B, and neuromedin B. By combining sparse genetic labeling and whole-mount placental alkaline phosphatase histochemistry, we found that itch-sensing skin arbors exhibit free endings with extensive axonal branching in the superficial epidermis and large receptive fields. These results revealed the unique morphological characteristics of itch-sensing neurons and provide intriguing insights into the basic mechanisms of itch transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1316
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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