Calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P decrease in the rabbit colon during colitis. A time study

Gastroenterology. 1991 Nov;101(5):1211-9. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(91)90069-w.


The sensory neuropeptides, substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide, have been implicated in inflammatory reactions in several tissues. An immune-complex model of colitis was used in rabbits to determine the colonic content (nmol/g protein) of immunoreactive substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide at various times after induction of inflammation to assess changes in these neuropeptides during the inflammatory response. Calcitonin gene-related peptide content was decreased by 66% 4 hours after induction of inflammation and reached a maximum of 80% at 48 hours. The substance P content was decreased at 8 hours, with a maximum decrease of 64% at 48 hours. Substance P decrease was detected in the muscle layer. The amounts of substance P in the mucosal/submucosal layer extracts were too low to allow accurate measurements. Calcitonin gene-related peptide decreased both in the muscle and the mucosal-submucosal layers. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P innervation patterns were comparable in normal and inflamed colon, even though there appeared to be a decrease in density and intensity of the staining, particularly for calcitonin gene-related peptide at 48 hours. The early decrease of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P during the time course of colitis might be due to release from nerve terminals of the gut during the inflammatory response. The profound changes in colonic calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P content during colitis may have important implications during inflammation and subsequent tissue repair and may also lead to disturbances in gut motility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / analysis*
  • Colitis* / chemically induced
  • Colitis* / pathology
  • Colon / chemistry*
  • Colon / innervation
  • Colon / pathology
  • Formaldehyde
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / chemistry
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Rabbits
  • Substance P / analysis*
  • Time Factors


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Formaldehyde
  • Substance P
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide