Histamine-induced itch and its relationship with pain

Mol Pain. 2008 Jul 31;4:29. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-4-29.


Itch is one of the major complications of skin diseases. Although there are various substances that induce itch or pruritus, it is evident that histamine is the best known endogenous agent that evokes itch. Even though histamine-induced itch has been studied for some time, the underlying mechanism of itch is just beginning to emerge. Although various downstream signaling pathways of histamine receptors have been revealed, more studies are required to determine the cause of histamine-induced itch. It appears that itch and pain involve different neuronal pathways. Pain generally inhibits itch, which indicates an inter-communication between the two. Complex interactions between itch and pain may be expected based on reports on disease states and opioids. In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanism and the pharmacological aspects of histamine-induced itch. Especially, the underlying mechanism of TRPV1 (an anti-pruritus target) has been determined to some extent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Histamine Release / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Pruritus / metabolism*