The challenge of translating findings from animal models to the clinic is well known. An example of this challenge is the striking effectiveness of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) antagonists in mouse models of inflammation coupled with their equally striking failure in clinical investigations in humans. Here, we provide an explanation for this dichotomy: Mas-related GPCRs (Mrgprs) mediate some aspects of inflammation that had been considered mediated by NK-1R. In support of this explanation, we show that conventional NK-1R antagonists have off-target activity on the mouse receptor MrgprB2 but not on the homologous human receptor MRGPRX2. An unrelated tripeptide NK-1R antagonist has dual activity on MRGPRX2. This tripeptide both suppresses itch in mice and inhibits degranulation from the LAD-2 human mast cell line elicited by basic secretagogue activation of MRGPRX2. Antagonists of Mrgprs may fill the void left by the failure of NK-1R antagonists.


Ehsan Azimi, Vemuri B. Reddy, Kai-Ting C. Shade, Robert M. Anthony, Sebastien Talbot, Paula Juliana Seadi Pereira, Ethan A. Lerner


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