How is the sensation of pruritus transmitted?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: David F Butler, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

The sensation of pruritus is transmitted through slow-conducting unmyelinated C-polymodal and possibly type A delta nociceptive neurons with free nerve endings located near the dermoepidermal junction or in the epidermis. These neurons appear to be located more superficially and are more sensitive to pruritogenic substances than pain receptors. Activators of these nerves include histamine, neuropeptide substance P, [1] serotonin, bradykinin, proteases (eg, mast cell tryptase), and endothelin (which stimulates the release of nitric oxide). Impulses are transmitted from the dorsal root ganglion to the spinothalamic tract and eventually to the thalamus. [2]


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