Tachykinins in the canine gastroesophageal junction

Am J Surg. 1991 Jan;161(1):165-70. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(91)90379-r.


Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) effects produced by the mammalian tachykinins were evaluated in anesthetized dogs. The distribution and content of substance P (SP) and neurokinin A (NKA) in the region of the canine gastroesophageal junction was also studied. SP and NKA stimulated a linear dose-dependent contraction of the LES after intra-arterial administration. Neurokinin B (NKB) failed to stimulate an increase in LES pressure (LESP). SP was characterized by an immediate but short-lived contraction followed by a period of relaxation. NKA stimulated a potent LES contraction that was slow in onset but long-lasting. On an equimolar basis, both SP and NKA were approximately 100 times more potent LES stimulants than bethanechol or phenylephrine. Pretreatment with atropine (muscarinic blockade) or tetrodotoxin (neural blockade) inhibited the effect produced by SP. NKA appeared to stimulate LES contraction independent of neural or cholinergic mechanisms. Radioimmunoassay revealed a regional variation in tachykinin content in the gastroesophageal junction. Ganglia, cell bodies, nerve fascicles, and neurites stained specifically for both SP and NKA. The variable effects, potencies, and mechanisms of action observed in this study suggest the presence of specific tachykinin receptor subtypes in the gastroesophageal junction. Both SP and NKA were found to have a broad neural distribution in this region. These findings suggest that the tachykinins may play an important role in neuroregulation of LES smooth muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dogs
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Esophagogastric Junction / drug effects
  • Esophagogastric Junction / innervation
  • Esophagogastric Junction / metabolism
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiology*
  • Esophagus / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Manometry
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Neurokinin A / metabolism
  • Neurokinin A / pharmacology
  • Neurokinin A / physiology
  • Neurokinin B / metabolism
  • Neurokinin B / pharmacology
  • Neurokinin B / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phentolamine / pharmacology
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Substance P / physiology
  • Tachykinins / metabolism
  • Tachykinins / physiology*
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Tachykinins
  • Substance P
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Atropine
  • Neurokinin A
  • Neurokinin B
  • Phentolamine