In vivo exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) induces a decrease in calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and tachykinin immunoreactivity in guinea-pig peripheral airways.
The mammalian respiratory tract is densely innervated by sensory and autonomic fibres. Subsets of the nerves contain bioactive regulatory peptides, such as substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and neurokinins. The sensory nervous system responds to inhaled irritants, resulting in a release of neuropeptides and, thus, a decrease in the peptide immunoreactivity of the fibres. We examined the effects of inhaled nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a well-known indoor and outdoor air pollutant, on pulmonary sensory neuropeptides. Guinea-pigs were exposed for 4 h to 18 parts per million (ppm) NO2 or to air (n = 5 each). At the end of the exposure, they were killed with urethane and their lungs were fixed in 1% paraformaldehyde in phosphate-buffered saline. Cryostat sections were stained with antisera to an anatomical nerve marker, protein gene product (PGP) 9.5, and to CGRP and tachykinins, utilizing the avidin-biotinylated peroxidase method. In the noncartilaginous airways (diameter < 250 microns) of NO2-exposed animals, less tachykinin- and CGRP-immunoreactive nerve fibres were found compared with controls. No change was seen in the total nerve fibre distribution (PGP 9.5). It is concluded that the peptidergic nerves of guinea-pig peripheral airways are a sensitive indicator of exposure to nitrogen dioxide.
Lucchini, RE; Springall, DR; Chitano, P; Fabbri, LM; Polak, JM; Mapp, CE
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