Involvement of TRPV1 and TDAG8 in Pruriception Associated with Noxious Acidosis

Shing Hong Lin, Martin Steinhoff, Akihiko Ikoma, Yen Ching Chang, Yuan Ren Cheng, Ravi Chandra Kopparaju, Satoshi Ishii, Wei Hsin Sun, Chih Cheng Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Itch and pain are closely related but are distinct sensations. Intradermal injection of acid generates pain in both rodents and humans; however, few studies have addressed the intriguing question of whether acid (protons) can evoke itch like other algogens by spatial contrast activation of single nociceptors. Here, we report that (i) citric acid (0.2 mol/L) pH-dependently induced a scratching response in mice when applied intradermally to nape or cheek skin, (ii) acidified buffer elevated intracellular calcium levels in dorsal root ganglion pruriceptors, and (iii) injection of intradermal citric acid (pH 3.0) into the nape induced a pruritogen-like but not algogen-like c-Fos immunoreactivity pattern in the cervical spinal cord. Using pharmacological and genetic approaches, we identified potential acid-sensing channels/receptors involved in acidic citrate-evoked itch. Results indicate that TRPV1, but neither ASIC3 nor TRPA1, is involved in the acidic citrate-induced scratching response. Furthermore, one of the proton-sensing G-protein–coupled receptors, TDAG8, was highly (∼71%) expressed in Nppb+ dorsal root ganglion pruriceptors. Itch induced by acidic citrate, but not α-methyl-5-hydroxytryptamine, chloroquine, compound 48/80, or bile acid, was markedly decreased in TDAG8–/– mice. In a heterologous expression system, TDAG8 potentiated the acid-induced calcium response by regulating TRPV1. Thus, protons could evoke pruriception by acting on TDAG8 to regulate TRPV1 activation with its mechanism of future therapeutic relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


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