Research Papers:

Altered expression of target genes of spinal cord in different itch models compared with capsaicin assessed by RT-qPCR validation

Bao-Wen Liu, Zhi-Xiao Li, Zhi-Gang He, Cheng Liu, Jun Xiong _ and Hong-Bing Xiang

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:74423-74433. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20148

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Bao-Wen Liu1, Zhi-Xiao Li1, Zhi-Gang He1, Cheng Liu1, Jun Xiong2 and Hong-Bing Xiang1

1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

2Hepatobiliary Surgery Center, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Correspondence to:

Jun Xiong, email: [email protected]

Keywords: itch, spinal cord, capsaicin, microarray, RT-qPCR

Received: April 09, 2017     Accepted: May 23, 2017     Published: August 10, 2017


Spinal cord plays a central role in the development and progression of pathogenesis of obstinate pruritus. In the current study, four groups of adult male C57Bl/6 mice were investigated; one group treated with saline, while the other groups intradermally injected with compound 48/80, histamine, α-Me-5-HT and capsaicin (algogenic substance), respectively. The intradermal microinjection of pruritic and algogenic compound resulted in a dramatic increase in the itch/algogenic behavior. Analysis of the microarray data showed that 15 genes in spinal cord (C5-C8) were differentially expressed between control group and 48/80 group, in which 9 genes were up-regulated and 6 genes were down-regulated. Furthermore, the results of RT-qPCR validation studies in C5-C8 spinal cord revealed that the 9 mRNA (Sgk1, Bag4, Fos, Ehd2, Edn3, Wdfy, Corin, 4921511E18Rik and 4930423020Rik) showed very different patterns for these different drugs, especially when comparing α-Me-5-HT and capsaicin. In three itch models, Fos and Ehd2 were up-regulated whereas Corin, 4921511E18Rik and 4930423020Rik were down-regulated. Furthermore, Corin and 4930423020Rik were down-regulated in itch model group compared to capsaicin group. Thus the application of microarray technique, coupled with RT-qPCR validation, further explain the mechanism behind itching evoked by pruritic compounds. It can contribute to our understanding of pharmacological methods for prevention or treatment of obstinate pruritus.

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