Characterization of scratching behavior induced by intradermal administration of morphine and fentanyl in mice

Atsuki Yamamoto, Shoji Kuyama, Chiaki Kamei, Yukio Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Itching is known as a commonly side effect of opioid administration. However, the relationship of opioid receptors to itching is unclear. In this study, we examined the effect of intradermal injection of morphine and fentanyl on the itching sensation. When injected intradermally into the rostral back of mice, morphine and fentanyl elicited scratching behavior. In addition, an opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone, and a peripherally restricted opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone methiodide, significantly suppressed morphine- and fentanyl-induced scratching behavior. Moreover, the morphine-induced scratching behavior was suppressed by histamine H1 receptor antagonists, such as diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, epinastine and cetirizine. On the other hand, fentanyl-induced scratching behavior was not suppressed by histamine H1 receptor antagonists. Additionally, scratching behavior induced by morphine and fentanyl were not suppressed by glucocorticoids (predonisolone and dexamethasone). In conclusion, opioid-induced itching may involve in peripheral opioid receptors. Moreover, histamine and arachidonic acid metabolites played no main role in opioid-induced scratching behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 10 2010


  • Fentanyl
  • Itch
  • Morphine
  • Naloxone methiodide
  • Peripheral opioid receptor
  • Scratching behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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