Bombesin is a pruritogenic agent that causes intense itch-scratching activity in rodents. Bombesin has high affinity for the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPr) and the neuromedin B receptor (NMBr). The aim of this study was to investigate pharmacologically the ability of GRPr and NMBr to themselves elicit scratching behavior in rats. The intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) route was selected for drug delivery because the study focused on supraspinal sites of action. The magnitude and duration of scratching produced by the naturally occurring peptides GRP and NMB were characterized. Antagonists selective for GRPr (RC-3095) and NMBr (PD168368) were used to define the role of GRPr and NMBr in the scratching response. After i.c.v. administration, GRP (0.03-0.3 nmol) and NMB (0.1-1 nmol) dose-dependently elicited marked scratching. There was a tolerance to scratching elicited by daily repeated administration of bombesin, GRP, or NMB. Presession administration of RC-3095 (0.1-1 nmol) and PD168368 (0.3-3 nmol) dose-dependently antagonized scratching elicited by GRP and NMB, respectively. More important, 1 nmol of RC-3095 failed to block NMB-elicited scratching and 3 nmol of PD168368 failed to block GRP-elicited scratching. In addition, pretreatment with effective doses of RC-3095 or PD168368 alone or in combination did not block bombesin-elicited scratching. Through the use of the selective antagonists RC-3095 and PD168368, this study demonstrates that central GRPr and NMBr act independently to elicit scratching behavior and that there is additional, unidentified receptor mechanism underlying bombesin-elicited scratching.
- behavioral pharmacology
- gastrin-releasing peptide receptor
- neuromedin B receptor
- scratching behavior
- Received January 6, 2011.
- Revision received March 16, 2011.
- Accepted March 16, 2011.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics