GASTROINTESTINAL HORMONES: Edited by H. Christian WeberGastrointestinal peptides and itch sensationWeber, H. ChristianAuthor Information Section of Gastroenterology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Correspondence to H. Christian Weber, MD, Section of Gastroenterology, Boston University School of Medicine, 650 Albany Street, EBRC, Room 508, Boston, MA 02118-2518, USA. Tel: +1 617 638 8330; fax: +1 617 638 7785; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity: February 2015 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 29-33 doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000122 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review To highlight the most recent advances regarding gastrointestinal peptides and their relation to chronic itch, with focus on gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), substance P, and their respective receptors. Recent findings GRP and its high-affinity GRP receptor (GRPR) have been identified as key regulators in the spinal cord itch pathway and may be involved in the maintenance of chronic itch sensation. Several neuropeptides including GRP, neuromedin B, and substance P regulate itch signals in a cooperative or inhibitory manner on the spinal level. Small clinical studies show that neurokinin 1 receptor antagonists might be of benefit in the treatment of chronic itch. Summary Chronic itch is a burdensome clinical problem, for which no specific treatment is available. Studies on the mechanisms of pruriceptive sensation and its signaling to the central nervous system (CNS) via the spinal cord have elucidated a number of peptides that are implicated in the regulation of itch-specific signaling pathways. Among those, GRP and its high-affinity GRP receptor have been proposed as key elements in the itch-specific neuronal pathways. Copy © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.