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Skin has the nerve to tell you to scratch

No matter the trigger — bug bites, a medication side-effect or an itchy wound — the urge to scratch can be a real pain. Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center have identified a potential drug target in the skin for that itchy feeling.

Flow of Calcium in Mouse Skin Cells
Two skin cells of a mouse show the flow of calcium into the cell in response to a dose of histamine (lower panel). Duke researchers have shown that an ion channel called TRPV4 is the beginning of a chain of messages that ends up signaling “itch” to the brain.
Credit: Yong Chen, Duke University