Spinal microcircuits for itch and pain
Itch is a major symptom of many dermatological disorders. However, the spinal circuits that underlie itch are poorly understood. I recently developed a new preparation that allows whole-cell patch clamp recording from the spinoparabrachial tract neurons in the spinal cord lamina I while we apply mechanical, thermal and chemical stimulation to the hind paw skin which can be combined with optogenetics. Using this preparation, I found a polysynaptic circuit of sensory augmentation that may contribute pain and itch. This new technique will allow us to uncover the spinal microcircuits that mediate itch and how they become altered in pathological conditions of itch.