A role for substance P in arthritis?

Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 6;361(1-3):176-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.12.020.


Substance P is a neuropeptide that is released from sensory nerves and which has a number of pro-inflammatory effects. In this article, we review the evidence for a role of substance P in arthritis, both in experimental animal models and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Substance P expression is altered in the joint and dorsal horn of arthritic animals, exogenous substance P and neurokinin 1 (NK(1)) receptor antagonists modulate responses in the joint, and there is some evidence for a role of substance P in human joint disease. However, the therapeutic potential of NK(1) receptor antagonists in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis remains controversial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthralgia / drug therapy
  • Arthralgia / metabolism*
  • Arthralgia / physiopathology
  • Arthritis / drug therapy
  • Arthritis / metabolism*
  • Arthritis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Joints / innervation*
  • Joints / physiopathology
  • Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Posterior Horn Cells / cytology
  • Posterior Horn Cells / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1 / metabolism
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Substance P / metabolism*
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Synovial Membrane / innervation
  • Synovial Membrane / physiopathology


  • Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Substance P