Atopic dermatitis can have a negative effect on sleep quality in children. Though pruritus can be worse at night, scratching episodes accounted for less than a quarter of nighttime disruptions in a new study. This has lead researchers to conclude that nighttime scratching is not the only factor in sleep impairment.
“By identifying which current and future therapies are effective for prurigo nodularis, we can gain a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of this disease, and patients will ultimately benefit from better treatment options,” Dr. Adam Friedman said.
Study authors note the paper represents some of the first published reliable information from a racially diverse population about who likely develops this chronic condition, which is characterized by intensely itchy nodules that develop on the arms and legs that can generalize throughout the body.
Ideally the goal would be to develop treatments that interrupt pain or itch closer to their source, said Dr. Mishra. “If we can block the sensation at the peripheral level, in the skin, that is a much friendlier way than to try to target the sensation once it reaches the brain.”
A phase-II study of a new systemic therapy for atopic dermatitis has found that the therapy, the anti-interleukin (IL)31 antibody nemolizumab, significantly reduced pruritus in patients with moderate-to-severe disease.
These findings, which the authors say demonstrate the value of targeting the IL-31 receptor A in these patients, were published in The New England Journal of Medicine (Mar. 2, 2017; 376:826–835...
Schema of AhR-mediated development and exacerbation of atopic dermatitis. AhR is activated by air pollutants, such as traffic-derived particulate matter (pm2.5). Activated AhR induces the expression of artemin in keratinocytes, which induces hyper-innervation of the epidermis, resulting in hypersensitivity to itch. Subsequent scratching leads to barrier damage and increased penetration of antigens, which enh...
Photo by Robert Boston// Zhou-Feng Chen, PhD (left) and postdoctoral research scholar Devin M. Barry, PhD,
Researchers have discovered how sensory nerve cells work together to transmit itch signals from the skin to the spinal cord, where neurons then carry those signals to the brain. Their discovery may help scientists find more effective ways to treat pruritus.