Receptor binding sites for substance P, but not substance K or neuromedin K, are expressed in high concentrations by arterioles, venules, and lymph nodules in surgical specimens obtained from patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease.
Several lines of evidence indicate that tachykinin neuropeptides [substance P (SP), substance K (SK), and neuromedin K (NK)] play a role in regulating the inflammatory and immune responses. To test this hypothesis in a human inflammatory disease, quantitative receptor autoradiography was used to examine possible abnormalities in tachykinin binding sites in surgical specimens from patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Surgical specimens of colon were obtained from patients with ulcerative colitis (n = 4) and Crohn disease (n = 4). Normal tissue was obtained from uninvolved areas of extensive resections for carcinoma (n = 6). In all cases, specimens were obtained less than 5 min after removal to minimize influences associated with degradation artifacts and were processed for quantitative receptor autoradiography by using 125I-labeled Bolton-Hunter conjugates of NK, SK, and SP. In the normal colon a low concentration of SP receptor binding sites is expressed by submucosal arterioles and venules and a moderate concentration is expressed by the external circular muscle, whereas SK receptor binding sites are expressed in low concentrations by the external circular and longitudinal muscle. In contrast, specific NK binding sites were not observed in any area of the human colon. In colon tissue obtained from ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease patients, however, very high concentrations of SP receptor binding sites are expressed by arterioles and venules located in the submucosa, muscularis mucosa, external circular muscle, external longitudinal muscle, and serosa. In addition, very high concentrations of SP receptor binding sites are expressed within the germinal center of lymph nodules, whereas the concentrations of SP and SK binding sites expressed by the external muscle layers are not altered significantly. These results demonstrate that receptor binding sites for SP, but not SK or NK, are ectopically expressed in high concentrations (1000-2000 times normal) by cells involved in mediating inflammatory and immune responses. These data suggest that SP may be involved in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease and might provide some insight into the interaction between the nervous system and the regulation of inflammation and the immune response in human inflammatory disease.
Mantyh, CR; Gates, TS; Zimmerman, RP; Welton, ML; Passaro, EP; Vigna, SR; Maggio, JE; Kruger, L; Mantyh, PW
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