Attenuation of experimental pruritus and mechanically evoked dysesthesiae in an area of cutaneous allodynia

Somatosens Mot Res. 1999;16(4):299-303. doi: 10.1080/08990229970366.


We investigated the effects of tactile allodynia on the itch and mechanically evoked dysesthesiae produced by an intradermal injection of histamine in human volunteers. After an intradermal injection of capsaicin into the volar surface of one forearm, there developed an area of tactile allodynia to stroking and hyperalgesia to pricking the skin. Histamine was then injected simultaneously into the area of allodynia (experimental arm) and into the opposite forearm (control arm). Magnitude estimates of itch were obtained every 15 s for 5 min, and the areas of cutaneous hyperalgesia (pricking-evoked pain), alloknesis (stroking-evoked itch), hyperknesis (pricking-evoked itch) and wheal and flare were measured. The areas of wheal and flare were not significantly different on the two arms. The magnitude of itch and the areas of hyperknesis and alloknesis developed normally on the control arm but were absent or greatly reduced on the experimental arm. Thus, both the itch and the alloknesis and hyperknesis normally induced by histamine were absent or greatly reduced when histamine was injected in an area of capsaicin-induced allodynia. These results are compatible with the hypothesis that activity in capsaicin-sensitive, nociceptive primary afferent neurons evokes a central neuronal inhibitory process that prevents or reduces the itch and mechanically evoked dysesthesiae normally produced by an intradermal injection of histamine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capsaicin
  • Forearm
  • Histamine
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / chemically induced
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Paresthesia / chemically induced
  • Paresthesia / physiopathology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Pruritus / chemically induced
  • Pruritus / physiopathology*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena* / drug effects
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • Time Factors


  • Histamine
  • Capsaicin