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Effects of short-term temperature change in the innocuous range on histaminergic and non-histaminergic acute itch

Lewis, Z; George, David N; Cowdell, Fiona; Holle, Henning


Z Lewis

Fiona Cowdell

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Dr Henning Holle
Reader in Psychology / Leader of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience group (


While temperatures in the noxious range are well-known to inhibit acute itch, the impact of temperature in the innocuous temperature range is less well understood. We investigated the effect of alternating short-term temperature changes in the innocuous range on histamine and cowhage-induced acute itch, taking into account individual differences in baseline skin temperature and sensory thresholds. Results indicate that cooling the skin to the cold threshold causes a temporary increase in the intensity of histamine-induced itch, in line with previous findings. Skin warming increased cowhage-induced itch intensity. Potential mechanisms of this interaction between thermosensation and pruritoception could involve cold-sensitive channels such as TRPM8, TREK-1 or TRPC5 in the case of histamine. The rapid modulation of cowhage induced itch - but not histamine-induced itch - by transient skin warming could be related to the lower temperature threshold of pruriceptive polymodal C-fibres (cowhage) as compared to the higher temperature threshold of the mechanoinsensitive C-Fibres conveying histaminergic itch.


Lewis, Z., George, D. N., Cowdell, F., & Holle, H. (2019). Effects of short-term temperature change in the innocuous range on histaminergic and non-histaminergic acute itch. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 99(2), 188-195.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 25, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 25, 2018
Publication Date Feb 1, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 27, 2018
Print ISSN 0001-5555
Electronic ISSN 1651-2057
Publisher Society for Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 99
Issue 2
Pages 188-195
Keywords Skin temperature; Histamine; Sensory thresholds; Pruritus
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Oct 26, 2018


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