Mas-Related G Protein-Coupled Receptors and the Biology of Itch Sensation

James Meixiong, Xinzhong Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Chronic, persistent itch is a devastating symptom that causes much suffering. In recent years, there has been great progress made in understanding the molecules, cells, and circuits underlying itch sensation. Once thought to be carried by pain-sensing neurons, itch is now believed to be capable of being transmitted by dedicated sensory labeled lines. Members of the Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor (Mrgpr) family demarcate an itch-specific labeled line in the peripheral nervous system. In the spinal cord, the expression of other proteins identifies additional populations of itch-dedicated sensory neurons. However, as evidence for labeled-line coding has mounted, studies promoting alternative itch-coding strategies have emerged, complicating our understanding of the neural basis of itch. In this review, we cover the molecules, cells, and circuits related to understanding the neural basis of itch, with a focus on the role of Mrgprs in mediating itch sensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual review of genetics
StatePublished - Nov 27 2017


  • DRG
  • Itch
  • Mas-related
  • Mrgpr
  • Pruritus
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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