From the Brain-Skin Connection: The Neuroendocrine-Immune Misalliance of Stress and Itch

We explore recent frontiers in both stress and pruritus research and portray the perpetuation of chronic skin inflammation and itch as a neuroendocrine-immune ‘misalliance’

Petra Arck; Ralf Paus

2007

Scholarcy highlights

  • Perceived stress has long been allied with disturbances of the dynamic equilibrium established between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, triggering or aggravating disease manifestation
  • Itch is perhaps the most common symptom associated with a majority of these inflammatory skin diseases, and acute as well as chronic stress perceptions are recognized to trigger or enhance pruritus
  • We explore recent frontiers in both stress and pruritus research and portray the perpetuation of chronic skin inflammation and itch as a neuroendocrine-immune ‘misalliance’
  • We argue that key candidate molecules of the stress response with strong pruritogenic potential, such as nerve growth factor, corticotropin-releasing hormone and substance P, and mast cells, which may be considered as ‘central cellular switchboards of pruritogenic inflammation’, need to be further explored systematically in order to develop more effective therapeutic combination strategies for itch management in chronic, stress-vulnerable inflammatory skin diseases
  • Biro T, Szabó T: How best to fight that nasty itch – from new insights into the neuroimmunological, neuroendocrine, and neurophysiological bases of pruritus to novel therapeutic approaches

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