HR-1 hairless mice fed with a special diet develop atopic-like dry skin, characterized by increased transepidermal water loss, and prolonged bouts of spontaneous scratching. In this study, the role of the skin barrier dysfunction in the prolongation of scratching was evaluated. Although the prolonged scratching was dose-dependently inhibited by opioid receptor antagonist naloxone, neither H(1) receptor antagonist, mepyramine, nor 5-HT(1/2) receptor antagonist, methysergide, affected it. Thus, the prolonged scratching could be itch-related response independent of histamine and serotonin. The application of petrolatum ointment on the skin temporarily alleviated the increase of transepidermal water loss for 60 min after treatment. Due to this alleviation in barrier dysfunction, the prolongation of scratching was significantly suppressed. However, when the barrier dysfunction relapsed, the scratching worsened. Taken together, a skin barrier dysfunction is associated with the itch-related response.