The Effects of the Heat Shock Protein 90 Inhibitor 17-Allylamino-17-Demethoxygeldanamycin, Cannabinoid Agonist WIN 55,212-2, and Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitor Nω-Nitro-L-Arginine Methyl Ester Hydrochloride on the Serotonin and Dry Skin-Induced Itch

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2022;183(4):443-452. doi: 10.1159/000520509. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


Introduction: In many types of itch, the interaction between immune system cells, keratinocytes, and sensory nerves involved in the transmission of itch is quite complex. Especially for patients with chronic itching, current treatments are insufficient, and their quality of life deteriorates significantly.

Objective: In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2, and nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME) in pruritus.

Methods: We created a serotonin (5-HT)-induced (50 μg/μL/mouse, i.d.) acute and acetone-ether-water (AEW)-induced chronic itching models. 17-AAG (1, 3, and 5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally [i.p.]), WIN 55,212-2 (1 mg/kg, i.p.), and L-NAME (1 mg/kg, i.p.) were applied to Balb/c mice.

Results: We found that 17-AAG suppressed the scratches of mice, depending on the dose. The itch behavior was reduced by WIN 55,212-2, but L-NAME showed no antipruritic effect at the administered dose. The combined application of these agents in both pruritus models showed synergism in terms of the antipruritic effect. Our results showed that NO did not play a role in the antipruritic effect of WIN 55,212-2 and 17-AAG. Increased plasma IgE levels with AEW treatment decreased with the administration of 17-AAG (5 mg/kg, i.p.) and WIN 55,212-2.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate that Hsp90 may play a role in the peripheral pathway of pruritus, and cannabinoid agonists and Hsp90 inhibitors can be used together in the treatment of pruritus.

Keywords: Cannabinoid; Heat shock protein 90; IgE; Nitric oxide; Pruritus; Serotonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives
  • Benzoquinones
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists* / adverse effects
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic
  • Mice
  • Morpholines
  • Naphthalenes
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / therapeutic use
  • Pruritus / chemically induced
  • Pruritus / drug therapy
  • Pruritus / metabolism
  • Quality of Life
  • Serotonin* / adverse effects


  • Benzoquinones
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic
  • Morpholines
  • Naphthalenes
  • arginine methyl ester
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Serotonin
  • tanespimycin
  • (3R)-((2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-((4-morpholinyl)methyl)pyrrolo-(1,2,3-de)-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)(1-naphthalenyl))methanone
  • Arginine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase