Neurokinin B- and substance P-like immunoreactivity are co-localized in enteric nerves of rat ileum

Regul Pept. 1999 Mar 17;80(1-2):67-74. doi: 10.1016/s0167-0115(99)00006-3.


The tachykinins (TKs) substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), and neurokinin B (NKB) have conserved C-terminal sequences and mediate similar physiological responses by activating neurokinin receptors found on neural and smooth muscle cells. Many enteric nerves express preprotachykinin A (PPT A) mRNA and synthesize SP and NKA. However, it is unclear if NKB is synthesized in enteric neurons as many antibodies developed against NKB also recognize other TKs. Therefore, the cellular distribution of NKB-like-immunoreactivity (NKB-ir) in rat ileum was examined using selective antisera raised against either synthetic Cys10-NKB or peptide 2 (P2), a non-tachykinergic peptide sequence in NKB precursor protein. NKB-ir and P2-ir had a similar distribution in varicose nerve fibers in submucosal and myenteric ganglia and almost all ganglia contained immunoreactive nerves. Few submucosal or myenteric neuronal somata contained strong immunoreactivity. Preabsorption of NKB or P2 antisera with their respective cognate peptides, but not with other TK peptides, abolished specific immunostaining. Finally, co-localization of NKB-/P2-ir with SP-ir suggested that most NKB-/P2-ir nerve fibers contain SP-ir, but some SP-ir nerves do not contain detectable NKB-/P2-ir. These results indicate that PPT B products P2 and NKB are localized in a subpopulation of enteric nerves containing TKs encoded by PPT A. Stimulation of these nerves may release NKB to activate local neurokinin receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross Reactions
  • Enteric Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Gastric Mucosa / ultrastructure
  • Ileum / innervation*
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / innervation
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism
  • Neurokinin B / immunology*
  • Neurokinin B / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Precursors / immunology
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Substance P / immunology*
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Tachykinins / metabolism


  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Precursors
  • Tachykinins
  • preprotachykinin
  • preprotachykinin B (50-79)
  • Substance P
  • Neurokinin B